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Larry Walker, III announces State Senate District 20 campaign

Businessman Larry Walker, III today announced that he would run for the State Senate District 20 seat being vacated by Senator Ross Tolleson.

Senator Tolleson announced on Tuesday that he is resigning from the State Senate. A special election will be called to fill the seat in the near future. Senate District 20 includes Bleckley, Houston, Laurens and Pulaski Counties.

In his announcement, Larry stated, “I first want to thank my good friend Ross Tolleson for his years of tireless service to our community and to all of Georgia as our State Senator.  I hold he and his family in high regard and wish them the very best.”

“I have been encouraged to run for this seat by people all over the district because they believe I am the right leader to effectively represent this district. Due to this encouragement and the support of my family, I am proud to announce my candidacy for State Senate.  Having recently gone through a tough campaign, I know firsthand the time and hard work a campaign requires, but I remain committed to public service and to putting my unique experience to work to represent the people of Middle Georgia. I ask the people of Senate District 20 for their prayers and their votes with the promise that I will always put them first and secure a prosperous future for Middle Georgia.”

About Larry Walker, III

Born and raised in Perry, Larry is an honor graduate of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.

A successful businessman, Larry began his career working as a staff accountant for The Coca-Cola Company.  Since that time, he has started numerous successful small businesses including, Walker Insurance Agency that he founded in 1996.

He is a Certified Insurance Counselor and maintains a Georgia Insurance License for property, casualty, life, and health. Larry also serves as statewide Marketing Manager for Health Care Mutual Captive Insurance Company.

Larry is a proven leader in our community. He serves on the Museum of Aviation Foundation Board, and the Board of Directors for ComSouth. He is past Chairman of the Perry Downtown Development Authority and now serves on the Houston County Development Authority. A past president of the Perry Rotary Club, Larry is a Paul Harris Fellow and was named Perry Rotarian of the Year in both 2004 and 2008. In 2004, Houston Magazine named Larry a top 10 leader under 40, and the Macon Telegraph listed him as one of 14 to watch in 2014.

A committed family man, Larry has been married to Adrienne, his high school sweetheart, for 30 years. They are the proud parents of three sons, Ben, Cody and Wade. The Walkers reside in Kathleen and are active members of Perry United Methodist Church.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 7, 2015

King George, III issued the Proclamation of 1763 on October 7, 1763.

With respect to Georgia’s official boundaries, the proclamation expanded Georgia’s southern boundary by giving the colony all lands between the Altamaha and St. Marys rivers. Previously, the Altamaha had served as Georgia’s southern boundary.

So, the impact of the Proclamation of 1763 was to set Georgia’s official southern boundary as the St. Marys River from its mouth to the headwaters, then north to the Altamaha River, then north to the headwaters of that river, and then westward to the Mississippi River. Georgia’s northern boundary was the Savannah River from its mouth to its headwaters.


Patriot militia defeated Loyalists at the Battle of King’s Mountain in North Carolina, near the South Carolina border on October 7, 1780.

On October 7, 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland College in the most-one-sided college football game in history, by a score of 222-0.

The Engineers led 63–0 after the first quarter and 126–0 at halftime. Tech added 54 more points in the third quarter and 42 in the final period.

Tech Cumberland Scoreboard Tech Cumberland Ball

Recently, a Georgia Tech alumnus paid $44,388 for the game ball with the intention of donating it to the trade school.

The Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany) was created by the Soviets on October 7, 1949.

Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Vice President Richard Nixon met in the second televised Presidential debate on October 7, 1960.

President Richard Nixon proposed a structure for peace and eventual withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam on October 7, 1970.

President George W. Bush (43) announced military action in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.

In a televised address that evening, Bush informed the American public that “carefully targeted actions” were being carried out to crush the military capability of al-Qaida and the Taliban, with help from British, Canadian, Australian, German and French troops. An additional 40 nations around the world provided intelligence, as well as bases from which the operations were conducted.

Bush touted the multinational effort as proof that America, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, was “supported by the collective will of the world.” He also warned that the war in Afghanistan would likely be only the first front in a long struggle against terrorism. He vowed to continue to take what he called the “war on terror” to those countries that sponsored, harbored or trained terrorists.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California on October 7, 2003.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Tonight, I head to Athens to speak to the University of Georgia College Republicans at 7 PM in the Miller Learning Center. If you’re in the area, I’m sure they’d welcome you.

This past weekend, this Ted Cruz sign was spotted in Athens for the big game and I saw it on Twitter via @1stbornAmerican. That’s +1 to the Cruz campaign or whomever came up with this.

Cruz Sign UGA cropped

The University of Georgia College Republicans will be selling game day buttons beginning at tonight’s meeting. I’ll probably be giving some of these away to readers in the next few days.

UGACR buttonsCropped

The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission has sent a short list of 11 names to Governor Deal for his consideration in appointing three judges to new Court of Appeals seats created by House Bill 279 during this year’s session of the General Assembly.

  • Joe C. Bishop – Chief Superior Court Judge, Pataula Judicial Circuit
  • Ural D. Glanville – Superior Court Judge, Atlanta Judicial Circuit
  • Britt C. Grant – Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General
  • Stephen D. Kelley – Superior Court Judge, Brunswick Judicial Circuit
  • Amanda D. Mercier – Superior Court Judge, Appalachian Judicial Circuit
  • Nels S.D. Peterson – Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs & Secretary to the Board of Regents, University System of Georgia
  • Eric A. Richardson – State Court Judge, Fulton County
  • Brian M. Rickman – District Attorney, Mountain Judicial Circuit
  • Charles L. Ruffin – Shareholder and partner, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
  • Lawton E. Stephens – Superior Court Judge, Western Judicial Circuit
  • Gail S. Tusan – Superior Court Judge, Atlanta Judicial Circuit

Generally speaking, the Court of Appeals hears and decides cases by three-judge panels and currently has twelve judges. Adding three judges should add roughly 20% to the capacity of the Court. In recent years, the Court of Appeals has been described as busier than most or all other state courts of appeals because Georgia has a unique requirement that appellate courts rule on cases within about eight months.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 7, 2015


Waldo, above and below, is a small, 18-pound Terrier mix (I think he’s actually a miniature Pinscher mix) who loves to snuggle and is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, Ga.



Lab #17 is a sweet 1-2 year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Little Chis

Number 3 and Number 4 appear to be Chihuahua mixes, maybe even puppies, who have recently come in to the Walton County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA, where they are available for adoption.


Pebbles is an 11-year old female Lab mix who just wants a home to spend her golden years, with her own dog bowl, a warm place to lie down, and a loving family. She is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Pebbles smiling



State Senator Ross Tolleson has resigned

from the email he sent his now-former colleagues:


I wanted to let you know ahead of time that I have submitted my letter of resignation to Governor Deal. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but some personal health issues require that I step back to focus on my family and my health. We will be sending out a press release later today, but I wanted you to hear it first and directly from me. 

Serving in the Senate has been the honor of a lifetime and getting to know each and every one of you is something I will always treasure. This body really is a special place and one that I will miss. But I do look forward to hopefully visiting and, of course, would love to see any of you if you’re ever passing through Perry.

Thank you for your friendship and support – they mean the world to me.



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 6, 2015

The first Mennonites arrived in America on October 6, 1683 aboard the Concord.

Cy Young threw his last professional baseball game as a member of the Boston Braves on October 6, 1911.

On October 6, 1953, WTVM-TV began broadcasting in  Columbus, Georgia.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience held its first rehearsal on October 6, 1966.

The second Presidential debate between Republican incumbent Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter took place on October 6, 1976. During the debate, Ford said, there was “no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe”.

Pope John Paul II became the first Pope to visit the White House on October 6, 1979. Carter’s notes from the meeting are at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta.

The last four B-52 bombers stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins left the base for the last time on October 6, 1983.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

This week, I’m kicking off the GaPundit Fall Tour. On Wednesday, I’ll be speaking to the University of Georgia College Republicans at 7 PM somewhere on campus. On Thursday, I’ll join Tharon Johnson at the Georgia Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Committee to provide lunchtime entertainment. Let me know if you’ve got a group you’d like to invite me to.

Last night, the Georgia Republican Party held it’s fall fundraiser featuring Frank Luntz.

“The Georgia Republican Party is fortunate to have strong supporters who are committed to growing the base and earning victory for our nominees at the ballot box,” said Georgia Republican Party Foundation Chairman Jack Kingston.  “I am confident that we will have the funds in place to launch an aggressive, comprehensive, data-driven victory program that protects our U.S. Senate seat and helps Republicans win back the White House in 2016!”
“Thanks to the outpouring of support from hardworking Republicans throughout the state, the Georgia Republican Party is equipped for battle,” said Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett.  “With our pro-growth, pro-freedom message, we can keep Georgia red and ensure that America’s best and brightest days are still to come.”
Later this month, the Georgia Republican Party will host a 2nd Amendment Celebration at Wild Bill’s in Duluth.  This exciting event on October 24 from 11AM-2PM features music from Beau Davidson, Irlene Mandrell, and T. Graham Brown.  Special invited guests include Georgia elected officials and presidential candidates.   For more information, click here.
I’ve been told the GAGOP raised over $200k last night. Congratulations and next time you see Jack Kingston, please thank him for helping the state party.

Quite bluntly, I’ve had it. I am so over-the-top sick and tired of hearing how corrupt DeKalb County Government is. I am sickened by what I read and sickened that I can’t bear to  read beyond the headline itself. I am just done.

But honestly what sickens me the most is the silence among the politicians and pundits within my own party who have always failed to stand up and call for resignations when it is so incredibly apparent that it has to happen. For the good of the county to say nothing of the Party, is there nobody willing to stand up and say they have had it? Is anybody, pol or pundit or party hack, willing to stand up for anything at all?

For the last twenty years, the DeKalb Democratic Party has done nothing to foster a civic virtue or maintain a culture that incubates a professional and ethical political class. It has failed to vet candidates; it has failed to recruit or build a pipeline for the future. The immediate result is that wannabe candidates can ignore the party organization, but clothe themselves in the once proud and now tattered brand.

So the hard truth of it is this county  will never  enjoy political  renaissance we are all so desperate for unless Democrats get their act together and find candidates and party leadership that the voters can embrace as competent and ethical and post-tribal. Until that happens the County will continue to struggle to find its way back.

And Republicans in DeKalb County have to figure out how they can effectively be part of the solution in a county where they are outnumbered 6-to-1 on the County Commission and have only one legislator in each chamber’s county delegation.

And here’s one of the problems: CEO Lee May continues to ignore North DeKalb, which happens to be largely Republican-held territory.

Some taxpayers in northwest DeKalb County said Monday they’re convinced that the head of the county is avoiding a face-to-face meeting with them as he fends off accusations of corruption.

Interim CEO Lee May announced he will hold five town hall meetings, but none in Brookhaven or Dunwoody.

“We want someone in there who is someone that can be trusted,” resident Mary Kozik said. She was disappointed to hear that May won’t be holding a meeting in northwest DeKalb County.

“It’s bizarre. I don’t understand why not north DeKalb,” Kozik said.

“If town halls are being held elsewhere, why in fact aren’t they being held here? There has to be a reason and probably not a very good one,” Kozik said.

I suspect the Bowers report on corruption in DeKalb County will be a major topic at tonight’s Town Hall meeting hosted by Commissioner Nancy Jester at Brookhaven Town Hall.

iCEO Lee May’s first Town Hall Meeting after the Bowers report was released will be held Thursday night from 6:30 to 8 PM at the Manuel Maloof Center, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030.

Both the LaVista Hills Alliance, the pro-city group, and DeKalb Strong, which opposes more incorporations, have called on DeKalb CEO Lee May to resign.

Meanwhile, Governor Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens are open to intervening in DeKalb County if the GBI review of the Bowers investigation concludes it is warranted.

The governor said Monday he was concerned by the report, issued by investigators that Lee hired, and said he would work with Olens to decide whether to launch a state investigation. And Olens said through a spokesman he would “discuss any necessary further steps” with Deal’s office.

“We’ll see as it continues to unfold exactly what the nature of these problems are, and whether or not they overlap into criminal conduct,” Deal said.

If Deal decides to intervene, he could have several options. He could ask the Attorney General’s office or another agency, such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to conduct a separate probe. He also could try to remove May from office himself, though it’s unclear whether he has the power to do so.

“There’s not an official investigation launched by the state, and that would probably be something in the hands of the Attorney General working with us in that regard,” said Deal. “We don’t know if it’s going to lead to that at this point.”

GBI spokesman Scott Dutton said the agency’s review would probe the report from a “law enforcement perspective” to delve into what criminal elements, if any, stand out.

Yesterday, foreign ministers meeting in Atlanta announced their consensus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

[T]rade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim nations announced Monday morning in Atlanta that they had reached consensus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The pact, which encompasses countries comprising 40 percent of the global economy, will cut tariffs on many products and achieve mutual recognition of standards on others.

“Most importantly, the agreement achieves the goal we set for an ambitious, comprehensive, high-standard, balanced agreement that will benefit our nation’s citizens,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at a press conference at the Ritz-Carlton downtown. He added that the tariff reductions amount to 18,000 tax cuts in countries with which the U.S. currently has no free-trade pact.

The deal would affect international trade for decades to come, and trade ministers seized on that sentiment in their remarks.

But the pact now faces ratification battles in the partner nations’ respective legislatures. If passed in Congress, the TPP would ensure an enduring legacy for President Barack Obama’s trade agenda. Mr. Froman, who will speak before Congress Monday, said the deal will be a “2016 issue,” given that trade-promotion authority requires President Obama to give Congress 60 days notice before putting it to a vote.

Early voting begins next week, and Macon-Bibb County voters will decide on a penny sales tax for education, but they’ll do so in 7 fewer precincts.

Early voting starts next week in Macon-Bibb County as voters weigh in on a 1-percent sales tax referendum that would benefit the public school system. But voters are being encouraged to double-check their polling locations because of recent changes.

The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections has reduced the number of precincts from 40 to 33 by combining some as a cost-saving measure to help with Macon-Bibb County’s need to reduce next year’s budget.

Board of Elections Chairwoman Rinda Wilson said the board was considering lowering the number of precincts to 26, but officials compromised and settled on 33, which is projected to save the county $21,000.

Athens was named a top ten city for singles by, while Macon was ranked the number two “best value” city in the nation for travel in 2016. Columbus, Georgia is ranked as the Peach State city with the highest rate of sexually-transmitted diseases based on 2013 data.

Governor and Mrs. Deal kicked off Pre-K Week with a trip to Friendship Learning Center in Buford.

The governor and first lady’s visit marked the beginning of Georgia Pre-K Week. Georgia pre-K programs across the state will receive visits from state leaders, who will have the opportunity to see what the programs are doing firsthand.

“We were so pleased to represent pre-K for the state with the kickoff event this morning,” said Kasandra McDaniel, owner of Friendship Learning Center. “It was an honor.”

In August, Deal announced his intention to devote $50 million back to the Georgia Pre-K Program, after years of cuts to teacher pay and increases in class size. This year, the program serves approximately 84,000 students across the state.

“We do intend to put additional revenue into the pre-K program,” Deal told the press at Friendship Learning Center on Monday. “We know that it is one of the most important elements in increasing the educational level of people in our state. We believe we can reduce the class size back to 20, which is our primary goal, and then of course to raise the salaries for the teachers and assistant teachers in our programs.”

Rafael Cruz Oct20
Rev. Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz, will speak at a lunch in Gainesville on Tuesday, October 20th. Click here for reservations and tickets.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 6, 2015


Perrito is a 9-year old, 8-pound male Rat Terrier who is available for adoption from New Rattitude National Rat Terrier Rescue in Athens, GA.

Compact Perrito packs a lot of personality into his 8-lb. handsome body, which has the typical short-legged shape of a “Type B” Rat Terrier, also known as a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. His estimated age is 9, and while that’s only middle-aged for this long-lived breed, it’s definitely old enough for him to know that he’s ready to settle down with a very special someone.

Perrito needs his VSS (very special someone) to help him follow a simple diet to manage his chronic pancreatitis. He will do best in an all-adult home as he can guard food and toys and is frightened of quick movements. With help from his foster parent, he gets along with the six dogs in his foster home, but he would also be content being the only dog. Perrito has so far been indifferent to cats. If you are that special human who can give this boy some understanding, loving structure, and security, you’ll earn the devotion of a loyal companion.

Ellie Rat

Ellie is an 8.5-year old Rat Terrier who weighs 12.5 pounds and is available for adoption from New Rattitude National Rat Terrier Rescue in Hampton, GA.

Meet Miss Ellie! She’s a senior with a fresh outlook on life. She knows that in order to stay young, you need to keep working on yourself, and that’s something Ellie has been doing with determination since coming to New Rattitude.

Now Ellie is busy learning to be playful and helpful around the home. She has learned to love playing with her ball, even creating her own game of “Ball Yoga,” giving the ball a Zen-like stare while rolling it gently around on her bed. She also enjoys her puzzles, mastering five different ones that utilize both her nose and her paws in her quest to locate treats, and she has learned the game of search, in which she seeks out the treats that are hidden in bowls inside boxes.

Ellie is house trained and crate trained and knows how to use a doggy door, though she really appreciates it if you go outside with her. Also, she has never been destructive when left loose in the house. Now, Ellie wants you to know that she does have her persnickety side. She doesn’t like kids and should be in an adults-only home. She also doesn’t care for certain dogs (any introductions would have to be made slowly) and thinks that cats and pocket pets, like gerbils and such, are vermin to be chased away (by her).


Gregory is a 3-year old Rat Terrier who weighs 14.5 pounds and is available for adoption from New Rattitude National Rat Terrier Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Gregory loves to cuddle, be petted, and give kisses back any chance he can. He also loves to go walking for as long as you will take him and walks pretty well on leash. One of his favorite activities is going to the dog park, where he happily runs after any dogs that will let him chase them and races with the bigger dogs on the other side of the fence.

Gregory has very good manners and will wait patiently for attention from dogs or humans, and once he knows it’s OK, he plays nicely with everyone. He gets along with all people and dogs, only barking in reply to other dogs who bark at him first when he’s out walking. As for cats, Gregory loves to chase them, especially if they run, so he would not fit in a home with cats.

He has been free to roam the house and has never had a potty accident inside. He learned to use the dog door after about two days and now goes in and out whenever he pleases. Gregory does need to be in a home with other dogs. It just makes him feel more comfortable and gives him someone to be with when his humans are not around.


Gaia is an 8-year old female Rat Terrier who weighs 14 pounds and is available for adoption from New Rattitude National Rat Terrier Rescue in Athens, GA.

This amazing little 8-year-old came into rescue with partially paralyzed legs and since entering foster care, 14-lb. Gaia has been in an intensive therapy program to strengthen her atrophied legs, and that therapy, along with acupuncture treatments, has helped her make wonderful progress. She is now walking most of the time and can even run and climb shallow stairs. And where she previously was bothered by frequent urinary tract infections–a common problem for paralyzed dogs–requiring a diaper at night, a healthy regimen of wet food, chicken or beef broth to increase her fluid intake, and a daily cranberry supplement has pretty much eliminated the infections and, along with it, the need for the nighttime diaper.

Gaia also does a relatively good job of going potty outside during the day, and she gets along well with the other dogs and the kitties in the household and plays often. She has spunk and a can-do attitude and tries sooooooo hard to do everything the other guys do. There’s a special home out there–perhaps yours?–waiting for this little girl who is as affectionate as she is tough. You will find her determination an inspiration and her appreciation, shown with lots of cuddles and kisses, a joy to receive!


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 5, 2015

On October 5, 1864, the Battle of Allatoona Pass was fought in Bartow County, Georgia.

The first televised Presidential address from the White House was broadcast on October 5, 1947.

The Georgia Supreme Court outlawed use of the electric chair as “cruel and unusual punishment” on October 5, 2001.

On Saturday, Porsche won the 2015 Petit Le Mans with their #911 car in pouring rain. Last week, Porsche Cars North America reported the sale of 4,424 cars representing a nearly 23% increase over September 2014 and the brand’s best September in history.

Porsche 911 Petit Le Mans Winner 2015

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the last day you can register to vote for the November 3, 2015 General Election and any runoff elections.

Trump GA Rally

Donald J. Trump will land in Atlanta on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at Noon, with a rally at North Atlanta Trade Center, in Norcross, GA. Click here for your free tickets.

Click here to connect with the Trump Georgia Campaign.

Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, will not seek the United States Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson.

In a statement Warnock said, “As much as I would have been honored to run and to serve, I have decided that, given my current pastoral and personal commitments, this is not a good time.”

Warnock’s decision leaves Georgia Democrats, at least for the moment, without a big-name candidate to oppose Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson. The party was excited by the prospect that Warnock would enter the race. Many saw him as an energetic candidate who could revive the party and get African-American voters to the polls. That in turn would attract Democratic presidential candidates to the state.

It’s not clear which Democrats might want to take on the difficult task of challenging Isakson. Major party names like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and former state senator Jason Carter have already indicated they aren’t interested.

Last week, former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) was asked on FoxNews, “you’d like to be Governor in Georgia, right?” and replied, “Sometimes it’s tempting, I’ll have to admit.”

Attorney General Sam Olens drew nearly 100 fellow Republicans who braved Saturday’s storm to hear him speak about federal overreach at the Cobb County GOP breakfast.

Olens, who served as county chairman from 2002 to 2010, described what he saw as a pattern of successive presidents using executive action to circumvent Congress, taking aim in particular at President Barack Obama. He called for a return to the Constitution as a means to restrain government overreach.

“Both parties neglected to look at the Constitution and permitted the executive branch to take power that wasn’t theirs and permitted the federal government to take powers that wasn’t theirs,” he said. “The Constitution is intended to secure liberty, but, as we know, our president talks about his power with a pen and a phone, and he uses that.”

Olens also spoke about his disagreements with the U.S. Supreme Court, but emphasized that even if he disagrees with court’s decision, he will abide by its rulings.

“For those of you who don’t like the composition of the Supreme Court, I would suggest you vote next November,” he said to applause, adding that the next president will likely appoint three justices.

Olens spoke about the need for collaboration between the federal and state governments, pointing to the recently-announced Clean Power Plan as an example of the federal government dictating not only air quality levels but how states should reach them.

“For those of you asking why Georgia hasn’t sued over the Clean Power Plan it’s because you can’t sue until it’s published,” he said. “I expect that when that rule is published you will see West Virginia take the lead … I presume you will see a majority — over 25 states — in that litigation, both (Republican) and (Democrat).”

Savannah Morning News editor Tom Barton wrote about cronyism and city government.

Hall County and some of its municipalities are applying for state transportation funding through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

Although operating for several years, the state-run loan/grant program hasn’t been tapped into by area governments until last year, when Gainesville and Flowery Branch secured $2.1 million in funding.

“What makes GTIB such a potent program for a small city like Flowery Branch is that they are able to give significant grants and extremely low-interest loans to projects that need the critical match to get built,” Flowery Branch city planner John McHenry said.

“These are unencumbered dollars that don’t come with a laundry list of requirements, and (the bank is) a partner committed to your project’s success.”

Bert Brantley, deputy executive director of the State Road and Tollway Authority, which manages the bank, said the program’s main thrust “is to leverage limited state dollars available … to fund high-impact, high-priority local projects that need that last bit of funding to get to construction.”

“Where possible, we also like to advance projects with innovative design elements, so we have funded diverging diamond interchanges, roundabouts and other innovative techniques that, if proven successful, can be used around the state.”

The program is funded through state gas taxes, allocated in each year’s state budget.

The state has $29 million to award in the 2016 round of funding, Brantley said.

Today, the Warner Robins City Council will hold a public hearing on creating a tax allocation district with the hope of eventually seeing a hotel and conference center next to City Hall.

The Macon-Bibb Commission will vote Tuesday on whether to fund a study of the economic feasibility of minor league baseball in their local market.

A draft revision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ operating manual for the Chattahoochee River would allow more water for metro Atlanta and other areas along the river.

“It appears that the corps has confirmed that metro Atlanta has a minimal impact on the Apalachicola Bay, which we have long argued,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, an executive with the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “And it appears the corps has granted additional water supply for most of Atlanta, which is positive news.”

The agency’s plan would allow Georgia by 2040 to tap nearly 600 million gallons each day from the Chattahoochee River and Lake Lanier, Atlanta’s main water supply. The region now pulls more than 360 million gallons daily from the water basin. Two years ago, though, the regional water district requested more than 660 million gallons a day to meet the area’s 2040 needs.

The United States Coast Guard suggests staying out of exercising caution around the water in coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.

“Rip currents are a dangerous phenomenon that intensify when a hurricane is looming and I urge experienced swimmers and the general public to exercise caution when swimming at the beach,” said Captain Mark Fedor, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th District. “Doing so could save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.”


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 5, 2015

Nearly fifteen years ago, I stopped to pick up a stray dog on December 24, 2000. She stayed with us, served as dog of honor in our wedding, and on Friday evening, we had to let her go. In some ways, Roxy was my first rescue dog, and she set us on the way to becoming strong supporters of dog rescue.

For the first couple years of, Roxy would join me every morning and sit by my feet as I prepared the morning email. The last few months, I let her sleep in before carrying her down stairs.

Roxy Fulton

Roxy is a year-and-a-half old and weighs 44.5 pounds. She is available for adoption for no-fee all month at Fulton County Animal Services, 860 Marietta Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30318.

Little Roxy was picked up as a stray in early April. Roxy is definitely an absolute sweetheart and is the perfect little compact size. This girl is an absolute shelter favorite : She loves to play and has enough energy to be the perfect running buddy! This little girl has a great personality and has managed to not let the stressful kennel environment get her down too much. She loves to cuddle, is very smart and learns very quickly! She is crate trained and loves to please.

Roxy Pinscher

Roxy is a red German Pinscher who was born on May 26th. She is doing well on her house and crate training but still has a ways to go. She likes other dogs but can be pushy with dogs smaller than her. Roxy needs continued training and a disciplined household to flourish.

Roxy loves her toys, head rubs, and sleeping under the covers when allowed. She has a good bit of energy, so regular exercise is a must. She travels well and would do best in a home where she can spend most of the day with her person.

The German Pinscher is rare in the United States and the foster group who cares for Roxy suggests researching the breed before deciding to adopt her. Roxy is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, Ga.

Roxy Bainbridge Comp

Our final adoptable Roxy today is a year-old Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society in Bainbridge, GA.

Roxy was brought in when her owners could no longer keep her. She is a good girl that wants a family to call her own! Roxy is sweet, about a year old and does not deserve being left in a shelter.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 2, 2015

Emma Frost

Emma Frost is a 2-year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption at no charge from DeKalb County Animal Services.


Skip is a 3-year old Border Collie mix boy who is available for adoption at no charge from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Sugar Ray

Sugar Ray is a 3-year old Boxer mix boy who is available for adoption at no charge from DeKalb County Animal Services.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 2, 2015

On October 2, 1789, President George Washington signed a resolution transmitting the (then-twelve) amendments constituting the Bill of Rights to the states that had ratified the Constitution. Click here for the letter from Washington to Governor Charles Pinckney of South Caroling that accompanied the amendments.

On October 2, 1835, Texans and Mexicans met in the first military battle of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of Gonzales.

In 1831, Mexican authorities gave the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help protect them from frequent Comanche raids. Over the next four years, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated, and in 1835 several states revolted. As the unrest spread, Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, felt it unwise to leave the residents of Gonzales a weapon and requested the return of the cannon.

When the initial request was refused, Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. The soldiers neared Gonzales on September 29, but the colonists used a variety of excuses to keep them from the town, while secretly sending messengers to request assistance from nearby communities. Within two days, up to 140 Texians gathered in Gonzales, all determined not to give up the cannon. On October 1, settlers voted to initiate a fight. Mexican soldiers opened fire as Texians approached their camp in the early hours of October 2. After several hours of desultory firing, the Mexican soldiers withdrew.

Texas Cannon Flag 600

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed on November 26, 1863 and on the fourth Thursday in November every succeeding year.

This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington’s suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes on this day in 1863.

On October 2, 1879, Wallace Stevens was born. Stevens would become a renowned poet and insurance industry lawyer. My favorite poem of his is “Connoisseur of Chaos.”

The pensive man . . . He sees the eagle float
For which the intricate Alps are a single nest.

President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke at the White House on October 2, 1909.

On October 4, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson sent a telegram to the Georgia Democratic Party Convention delegates in appreciation for their support of his admininstration.

On October 3, 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton was appointed to the United States Senate from Georgia following the death of Senator Tom Watson. After initially being rebuffed by the Senate, Felton was sworn-in on late in November, becoming the first woman to serve in the United States Senate.

The Savannah River Bridge opened on October 4, 1925.

The first televised Presidential address from the White House was broadcast on October 5, 1947.

Thurgood Marshall was sworn-in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 2, 1967.

Betty Talmadge, then wife of Senator Herman Talmadge, hosted a fundraiser with Rosalynn Carter and Joan Mondale on October 2, 1976.

Ground was broken for The Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta on October 2, 1984.

Beverly Hills, 90210 debuted on October 4, 1990.

The Georgia Supreme Court outlawed use of the electric chair as “cruel and unusual punishment” on October 5, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Beer brewers’ carefully-planned tour & souvenir beer programs took a hit this week with a Georgia Department of Revenue rule that says they can’t vary the price according to the quantity of souvenir beer offered.

Legislation adopted this year gave craft brewers the ability to sell facility tours and give away their product — a kind of backdoor way to actually sell their beer directly to customers, something those brewers have long sought. After Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into the law, the state Revenue Department enacted rules governing the tours. Those regulations allowed brewers to create different tour packages at different price levels.

But last week the department issued a “bulletin” saying while brewers can offer different levels of tours, the price differences cannot be based on the value of the beer.

State Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, wrote to the Department of Revenue in June, before the first set of regulations were finalized, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Harrell asked the department to consider a wide range of hypothetical tour scenarios involving multiple prices and a large beer selection. Harrell specifically asked Revenue officials to tell him whether his scenario would be allowed under the law.

Harrell told the AJC that a Revenue employee told him that “‘based on our review, none of your suggested events exceed the allowed amount limits.’ They didn’t see there was any issue with the fictious tour sale.”

However this plays out at the agency, expect the General Assembly to reconsider the issue next year.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Canton) wrote on Facebook that the agency actions conflict with the legislation passed this year.

I have complained to the DOR that they are creating a new law, something reserved for the legislature, with this bulletin. The words on the page are clear to me, the breweries can charge whatever they like for tours for whatever reason they want to.

By eliminating the ability to vary the size of the souvenir, the DOR is destroying the intent and actual meaning of SB 63.

AJC Columnist Kyle Wingfield blames it on the dastardly alcohol wholesalers’ lobby.

SB 63 [the “Beer Jobs Bill”] was held up by lawmakers beholden to the alcohol-wholesalers lobby at every turn before finally gaining approval as a watered-down, near-beer version of itself on the final day of the session. It wasn’t much: Breweries won the chance to give away limited amounts of their beer as “free souvenirs” included in the price of “educational and promotional brewery tours,” a needlessly complicated compromise only Rube Goldberg could love. Given the way even limited “sales” of beer can boost a small brewery’s bottom line and help it grow, though, at least it was something.

The final text of SB 63 allows breweries to “charge varying fees for the brewery tours.” It says nothing about how those fees are to be determined. The Revenue Department now says breweries “may not vary tour prices in such a way that the tour prices are clearly and directly tied to the market value of the alcohol furnished.”

Although one can contort the vague words of SB 63 just enough to get to the place Revenue’s rule-writers arrived, this policy runs plainly counter to the spirit of the law evident throughout this year’s debate.

It does, however, fit neatly with the wholesalers lobby’s desire to kill such legislation entirely. Only the willfully naive could believe they didn’t lift a finger to ensure the new rule was written just so.

Apparently, there’s some sort of sporting event in Athens this weekend. With rain predicted, some parking will be limited and predictions are sounding like TomorrowWorld’s mud bowl.

[T]he intramural fields are so water-logged from recent rains—with more rain forecast for later this week—that they’ll be closed off to vehicles this weekend, meaning the loss of 2,000 parking spaces. Some tailgating areas may be closed as well. Updates are available here.

UGA is urging people to use lots on the periphery of campus that aren’t always full, as well as parking provided by local schools, churches and businesses (including Flagpole). Carpool if you can and get there early, too.

Kingston Tailgate

Former Congressman Jack Kingston has been spreading the word about a tailgate being hosted by his daughter and son-in-law in Athens tomorrow. If you think you might attend, RSVP to [email protected]

If you recall the debate over Medical Cannabis legislation over the last two years, part of the discussion was controlled clinical trials at whatever they’re calling the Medical College in Augusta. Some preliminary results are in and show promise, according to Kristina Torres of the AJC.

Georgia-based clinical trials have shown early promise in using cannabis oil to treatment epileptic seizures, although researchers said they won’t know for sure until at least the end of next year what strides they have made in the study of medical marijuana.

I would also expect some form of legislation to be discussed next year that would allow some form of heavily-regulated in-state production of medical cannabis. From Channel 13 WMAX,

“There is still a lot of skepticism in the medical community so it’s imperative that we show there is research that medical cannabis does work for almost all of the qualifying conditions that we have in Georgia,” State Representative Allen Peake said.

He’s the commission’s chairman said it’s imperative that lawmakers listen to the medical community and doctors’ concerns about control and purity of the drug. One committee member, Doctor Cynthia Wetmore, is concerned about the composition of out of state cannabis. She says marijuana grown here would give officials more control.

“Right now, when patients are getting it from all different sources but there’s not much consistency, the only way to ensure consistency is to grow it, have control over it so that we’re able to purify it and have quality control of the different batches,” Wetmore said.

Janea Cox’s daughter Haleigh inspired Georgia’s medical marijuana law. Janea thinks Georgia-grown cannabis would increase access for families like hers who depend on it to help conditions like seizure disorders.

“It’ll make it easier for access for patients here and its also better so that Georgia can regulate their own rules and be able to regulate it a lot better. Growing is definitely one of those promises that were hoping for,” Cox said.

Atlanta Public Schools Broken

APS Superintendent Maria Carstarphen has this to say, according to the AJC.

“I don’t know why as a community we don’t understand that Atlanta Public Schools is effectively broken. We have the lion’s share of every problem you can possibly imagine in urban public schools. But I am here. This is my community,” she said. “They are my babies and my children and I expect of myself to do a good job with or without the support of anyone else. I believe in Atlanta. I believe in Atlanta Public Schools. I have met this staff. I know our children are beautiful and can deliver if we hold them to the right expectations.”

Despite all the challenges the children bring to the classroom, Carstarphen cited an even bigger challenge for APS. “Culture is the biggest challenge for Atlanta Public Schools. Every great strategy we have gets eaten for  breakfast because of the culture sometimes.”

DeKalb County Corruption Probe

In response to the release of the Bowers-Hyde report on corruption in DeKalb County, Governor Nathan Deal has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the report.

The GBI cannot open an investigation on its own it must be directed to by another agency.

The governor is not asking the GBI to investigate the report, but he is asking the GBI to review it.

The report authored by former Attorney General Mike Bowers and investigator Richard Hyde claims there’s widespread corruption inside DeKalb County government, starting with interim CEO Lee May.

“It was a very sad day for DeKalb County,” County Commissioner Nancy Jester told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot.

Jester says corruption is a cancer eating away at the DeKalb government.

She told Elliot that she welcomes any outside agency taking a closer look at the Bowers report, but she wants a full investigation not just a review.

Interim CEO Lee May would like to sweep another new set of allegations under the carpet with the Bowers report. From Jodie Fleischer at WSB,

A little more than a year after he accepted $3,500 in bribes to help a nightclub owner, zoning official Jeremy “Jerry” Clark began billing DeKalb County taxpayers as a consultant, a Channel 2 Action News investigation found.

Records show between March and August of 2014, Clark submitted invoices totaling $24,500 for youth outreach services, skirting multiple DeKalb County policies and possibly state law.

“It’s either a crime was committed, which is what it smells like, or someone has played loose and easy with the regulations,” said former DeKalb District Attorney Bob Wilson, who reviewed the situation at the request of Channel 2.

But DeKalb County CEO Lee May says he won’t request an investigation of this situation; the high-ranking official who facilitated it is May’s Chief of Staff and long-time adviser Edmond Richardson.

Lee May also declined an interview request, but issued a statement saying, “I am very disappointed in how it was handled.  It might have been to the letter of all laws, but certainly not in the spirit in which I expect this government to be operated.”

May said he has no plans to investigate the situation.


Congratulations to Colin Martin, who has joined the staff of Congressman Lynn Westmoreland.

Colin Martin, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year against incumbent Teresa Tomlinson, will start the new job on Thursday.

Field Representatives represent the congressman at events and meetings throughout the 13-county district that stretches from the southern tip of Metro Atlanta to north Columbus. Martin will cover the southern part of the district that includes Upson, Lamar, Pike, Meriwether, Harris, Muscogee, and part of Troup counties.

“Congressman Westmoreland has been a true servant-leader for the Third Congressional District and the Columbus region,” Martin said. “I am both humbled and excited for the opportunity to serve his constituents in this role.”

Here’s my professional advice to Colin: there will be lots of people from the area you cover in Athens on Saturday. You should go there to make yourself available for any comments and concerns they may have for Cong. Westmoreland. But this is probably not a reimbursable expense, it’s part of going the extra mile to serve.

The AJC Political Insider turned up an interesting nugget. It appears that Donald J. Trump may be headed to Atlanta this month.

Toward the very end of this piece on Donald Trump and the televangelizing crowd is a small mention that The Donald may be headed to Atlanta on Oct. 10 for a meeting with black pastors. Think of the possibilities of a Donald Trump/Creflo Dollar ticket.

In the Augusta area, voters will elect a new Columbia County Commissioner for District 3 and a new State Representative for District 122 in a special election on November 3d.

The District 122 special election became necessary when Ben Harbin, who represented the county in the Georgia Legislature for 20 years, announced he was resigning in the midst of his term to take a position with the lobbying firm South Strategy Group.

Four candidates qualified to run for the open seat – Pat Goodwin, a former chairwoman of the Columbia County Republican Party and the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Jodi Lott, a registered nurse and co-owner of Evans Rehabilitation Services; Joe Mullins, a developer and entertainment promoter; and Mack Taylor, a lawyer in private practice who resigned his seat on the Columbia County Commission in July to pursue the office.

In the other race featured at the forum, five candidates explained why they wanted to be the next commissioner for District 3, a seat vacated in July when Taylor resigned to run for the state Legislature.

Jim Bartley, Greg Grzybowski, Gary Richardson, Frank Spears and Russell Wilder have stepped up to fill the remainder of Taylor’s term.

For more on those candidates and their positions on issues, check out the Augusta Chronicle article cited above.