Sir Edmund Hillary was born on July 20, 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand. He and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first to summit Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.
When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”
At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: “magnificent desolation.” They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.
They leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle’s legs. It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton gave the speech nominating Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis for President on July 20, 1988 at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Dukakis accepted the nomination the next day.
Clinton’s performance was widely panned.
[Clinton] bombed so badly that there was speculation it might spoil his political future.
The prime-time speech would be a perfect opportunity for Clinton to regain some of the ground he’d lost to Gore and to reestablish himself as the one to watch from the party’s moderate/Southern wing.
But he blew it. The speech he delivered was long – 33 minutes, or twice the expected length – and mechanical. It only took a few minutes for convention delegates to tune him out, as the din of their conversations began drowning him out on television. Eventually, the broadcast networks began cutting away from his speech, with commentators noting the crowd’s complete lack of interest. The lowlight came when Clinton uttered the words “In closing,” prompting a spontaneous round of sarcastic cheers from the audience. His home state paper summed it up this way:
ATLANTA Gov. Bill Clinton’s big national moment his prime time speech Wednesday night in nomination of Michael Dukakis was an unmitigated disaster.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Governor Nathan Deal helped cut the ribbon at the new Terry England Leadership Center at the FFA/FCCLA center in Covington.
The center is named for Barrow County state Representative Terry England, chairman of the House Appropriations committee and a longtime champion of agriculture education in Georgia.
Deal talked about the importance of the center to the state.
“We sometimes identify it as being a place where we develop agricultural leaders,” he said, “I would suggest to you more appropriately, it is a place where we develop leaders.”
“My hope is that for decades to come, this facility creates some of the memories that some of the buildings down the hill created for me,” [said Rep. England]
Addressing the FFA members in the audience he said,” I hope friendships are being made here that you will take with you for a lifetime. I hope memories are being made here that you will take with you for a lifetime.
From the Rockdale and Newton County Citizens,
Gov. Deal, who arrived at the FFA- FCCLA Center via helicopter shortly after 11:30 a.m., recalled visiting the camp as a youngster with his father, who was an ag education teacher. As a member of FFA, Deal said he developed his public speaking skills and took part in local, state, regional and national competitions.
“This has been a place for great victories,” Deal said of those competitions. “It has also been a place for defeats and for learning to deal with defeats and learning to see the positive side of your own dreams and your own plans not being fulfilled, to understand that maybe somebody beyond you has a plan for your future that you don’t even comprehend.”
“Great leaders have been produced by virtue of the experiences and the training that they have received in FFA, in FCCLA, and in other related type organizations,” said Deal. “We are in the business of training young people. This facility does it about as good as any I have seen, and I think it has not only a great past behind it, but in my opinion, a very, very bright future.”
“FFA gave me the opportunity to learn how to stand in front of people and speak,” said England. “It gave me the opportunity to learn to be a better friend, showed me how to be a better husband, a better son and a better person. My hope is that for decades and generations to come that this facility here recreates the memories that some of the buildings down the hill have created for me.”
The Terry England Leadership Center is a 20,000-square-foot facility featuring a 14,000-square-foot room that will seat as many as 1,400 people or 750 for banquet dining. Todd Teasley, director of development and leadership at the FFA Center, has said the meeting space is the largest in the surrounding area.
The center was funded through a $9.5 million appropriation in the state budget in 2015.
If I’ve learned one thing in my time at the Georgia State Capitol, it’s that the FFA has probably produced more state leaders than any other organization.
Cherokee County Commissioners adopted a property tax millage rate lower than the rollback rate.
County Manager Jerry Cooper said not only did the finance team achieve a full rollback in the 2017 fiscal year millage, but a tax decrease was presented to commissioners and residents.
Commissioners voted June 6 to advertise a millage rate of 5.528, down from 5.680 last year, with the use of $500,000 in reserves to support its general fund for the upcoming year.
But Cooper said at Tuesday’s final public hearing that they were able to achieve a rate below the full rollback and the rate of 5.483 was unanimously approved by commissioners.
“About a month ago, before we were able to complete our review of revenue and based on the information the tax assessor’s office provided us as well as expenditures as we were finalizing our negotiations in the budget, we asked you at that time that we did not propose a full rollback of the general Maintenance and Operations millage rate,” he said. “We then must advertise the three public hearings and post a notice of property tax increase. The first public hearing that was presented to you that we would be recommending a full rollback of the millage rate.”
Cooper said the millage rate that was approved by commissioners is a .04 percent decrease to the full rollback millage.
“Although we’ve been blessed to have an increase in the digest due to growth, we also had increase to current properties based on the assessments,” Cooper said. “Our goal is to at least rollback the millage rate to offset the average increase in the assessments based on what the tax assessor’s office provides us.”
Earlier this week, the Cherokee County Tax Assessor’s Office laid off all Personal Property Appraisal Division staff and is privatizing that function.
Columbia County Commissioners are considering a property tax millage rate lower than last year, but not a full rollback.
Columbia County officials plan to roll back tax rates to a countywide 6.189 mills, but will still raise an extra $1.3 million from taxes on new development and reassessments in the rapidly growing county.
County Administrator Scott Johnson called the rate reduction, advertised July 9, a rarity among area governments.
The new tax rate will result in a total of $31 million in property taxes levied by Columbia County government, up from about $30 million last year. Since 2012, county taxes levied have risen 15 percent, as the population has grown 11 percent, to 147,450, according to Census Bureau estimates.
On average, the new rate will add 50 cents or so to a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment, Deputy Administrator Matt Schlacter said.
Other Columbia County governments including Grovetown and Harlem are not lowering tax rates. Columbia County Board of Education is raising tax rates by almost half a mill to 18.3 mills, with an annual impact of $39.44 on the tax bill of a homesteaded home worth $200,000.
Richmond County Board of Education voted Tuesday to approve a tentative millage rate of 19.736 mills, a decrease of .018 mills from last year.
Lawrenceville City Council adopted a millage rate lower than the previous year’s.
Lawrenceville’s mayor and City Council voted July 12 to roll back the millage rate to 1.909 mills and decrease the city property tax rate for the 2017/18 fiscal year.
“The city has rolled back the millage rate to effectively maintain an affordable cost of living for residents in the city,” said Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson. “The Council believes that keeping a low tax structure today will create opportunity for the future. As the city moves forward to execute capital projects, low millage now would offer flexibility for citizens to invest in these projects and maintain competitive rates along the way.”
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler released new unemployment numbers for June.
For the fifth consecutive month, the state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate has dropped.
According to numbers released Thursday morning by the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL), the rate decreased to 4.8 percent in June, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 4.9 percent in May. The last time the state recorded a jobless rate as low as 4.8 percent was in September 2007. In June 2016, the rate was 5.3 percent.
“Georgia’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in almost 10 years, because our employers continue to create jobs and put record numbers of people to work,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “We now have record highs for the number of employed individuals, the labor force size and total number of jobs in Georgia.”
Employers added 27,400 jobs in June, a 0.6 percent growth rate, which increased the total number of jobs to 4,496,000. The growth more than doubled the average May-to-June increase of 12,100 jobs for the past three years.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr returned to familiar territory, speaking to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
“One of the things that I have found in the eight months that I have been attorney general is this,” Carr said. “Most people know there is an attorney general, and are pretty sure we have an office somewhere. But beyond that it gets a little fuzzy about what we do.”
Carr did bring some community issues, such as opioid abuse and human trafficking, to the attention of the chamber.
He pointed out that while he was involved with efforts to lure high profile events, such as the Super Bowl and the college football national championship game, to Atlanta when he was the economic development commissioner, his new role has made him aware of issues that come with those events — namely human trafficking.
“If you start looking at stings that have occurred recently in Gwinnett or Dunwoody, it’s in the northern suburbs,” Carr said. “If you talk to folks who deal with this issue downtown, it’s folks coming from the suburbs and then going back home. That has to stop. Children deserve a right to live a life where they are not victimized by adults.”
Columbus City Council is considering regulating short term rentals, like AirBNB.
As more short-term lodging rental units come online in Columbus, one city councilor has asked for the staff to bring an ordinance for consideration to govern the growing enterprise.
Councilor Skip Henderson called [for] information that could lead to an ordinance that would regulate the new lodging option.
“I want to make sure everybody is playing by same rules and its a level field,” Henderson said on Tuesday. “Others in the hospitality industry are subject to rules and regulations. It makes sense that anybody doing short-term rental like Airbnb would be subject to those same rules and regulations.”
Because there is currently no regulation, [Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau President Peter] Bowden said, there is no mechanism for those offering short-term rentals to pay taxes or fees that other hospitality providers pay. The room tax in Columbus is 16 percent, with 8 percent of that sales tax that is distributed to the state, city and school district, while the remaining 8 percent is divided between the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Columbus Civic Center, trade center and RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
“For us, it gets back to lost revenue for the city,” Bowden said. “We want to make sure it is a level playing field. We have to be careful at the CVB because we don’t want to interfere with anyone being an entrepreneur. We need to make sure the system is working for everyone.”
The primary online booking source for short-term rental is Airbnb.com
With both Savannah and Columbus considering regulating short term rentals, I’d be suprised if we don’t see an “AirBNB bill” in the 2018 Session of the Georgia General Assembly.
Cobb County Board of Education members are considering a policy change that would open dual-enrollment for more high school students to take college courses.
Cobb County has the second-highest number of Latino/a voters in Georgia.
Based upon the statewide voter data file and the analysis in his report as of Dec. 2, 2016, the Latino electorate is now 244,190 voters strong, representing 3.66 percent of Georgia’s overall electorate. The Latino electorate grew by 60,224 new Latino voters since the 2012 report, representing a growth rate of 25 percent, he said.
Gwinnett County leads the pack of metro Atlanta counties with 44,567 Latino registered voters.
Cobb County was in second place with a total number of Latino voters of 27,150 and 59.62 percent of them turned out to vote in the 2016 election. Taken alone, Cobb County accounted for 11.11 percent of the statewide Latino electorate. According to the 2016 election summary, Cobb County had a total of 423,890 registered voters. Latinos were 6.40 percent of the electorate in Cobb County.
In the 2016 election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton beat Republican candidate Donald Trump by 7,209 votes in Cobb County. In 2012, the Romney campaign was able to succeed in Cobb County with a margin of victory of 38,598 votes, Gonzalez notes.
According to the latest U.S. Census numbers, Cobb County has a Hispanic or Latino population of 12.9 percent, compared to Gwinnett County’s 20.8 percent, DeKalb’s 8.5 percent and Cherokee County’s 10 percent.
The Savannah Downtown Business Association hosted a panel discussion on violent crime.
Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Savannah-Chatham police Chief Joseph Lumpkin, District Attorney Meg Heap, the Rev. George Lee from St. John’s Baptist Church, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Jim Durham and Dulany Industries President and CEO Reed Dulany took turns fielding audience questions and criticisms about the current state of crime in the city.
SDBA president Karen Guinn opened the discussion by noting that the violence in City Market after the July 4 celebration has “awoken and mobilized a group of people that want more and want better for our city.”
“Many of you are here today because you’re angry, you’re frustrated and perhaps even afraid, and you’re looking for answers,” Guinn said.
“Everyone is feeling endangered. It’s a natural response,” Lumpkin said. “The challenges that we’re facing from some people in our community are significant, and they typically do not happen at City Market. We have tried to address those issues, and I think we’ve made significant progress in building collaborations that have actually reduced the homicides, year-to-date, from last year.”
University of North Georgia and Lanier Tech report no problems since campus carry has been allowed in Georgia.
UNG Police Chief Justin Gaines said one incident was reported in which a gun “became unconcealed while the person was carrying it.” He said the person who saw the weapon “didn’t know how to address that particular situation.” Campus police helped the person understand how to respond in the future.
Lanier Tech Police Chief Jeff Strickland said no violations of the law have been reported to his office.
“We had not had any issues that have come up at this point,” Strickland said. “As I have walked around campus, I have not seen anybody that appeared to have a firearm on them.”
House Bill 280, commonly referred to as the campus carry law, became law July 1. The bill makes it legal for those with a Georgia weapons carry license to have a concealed handgun in some campus areas previously prohibited.
State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) wants to revisit the “Hidden Predator Act,”
When his bill extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil claims was signed into law in 2015, State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) knew it didn’t go far enough.
The lawsuits that have been filed since the Hidden Predator Act took effect bear him out. While the law allows victims to go after the individuals they say abused them, the businesses and nonprofits that allegedly enabled or covered up predatory behavior have so far avoided any potential financial liability.
“What these cases have proven is that we stopped short,” said Spencer, who is proposing an amendment to the Hidden Predator Act that would close that loophole. “It’s our duty to balance the scales of justice for victims.”
The new law allowed victims up to 35 years to confront their abuser in court. The window to file those suits, however, closed on July 1.
At least a dozen cases have been filed since the Hidden Predator Act became law. Spencer said opponents of the bill claimed it would lead to an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits.
“None of these cases are frivolous,” Spencer said. “A judge would’ve thrown them out if they were.”
“We need to take the next step,” he continued. “We can’t allow entities to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse.”
Congressman Karen Handel (R-6) announced senior staff hires.
Serving as Handel’s chief of staff will be Muffy Day, who comes to the team from the office of U.S. Congresswoman Mia Love of Utah where she held the same position. Before Love’s election, Day was chief of staff for Rep. John Campbell from 2008 until his retirement. She has 15 years of experience on Capitol Hill where she got her start as a legislative assistant for Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Others working in the D.C. office include scheduler, Ashley Dalton, who held the same position on Handel’s campaign; legislative correspondent, Kim Waskowsky; and staff assistant, Justin Forrister.
The Roswell office will be led by District Director Ashley Jenkins, a Cobb County resident who previously served on the Sandy Springs City Council. She’s been a 6th District resident for about two decades. Serving as deputy district director will be Donovan Head, who comes home to the 6th District after working for Congressman Austin Scott in Warner Robins.
State Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) discussed federal health care reform and how Georgia can respond.
Rep. Katie Dempsey said Georgia lawmakers are prepared to react to whatever Congress does.
“Georgia has shown it can take care of people in need,” said the Rome Republican, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s human resources subcommittee. “Children, mothers, they’re covered, and we’re not going to let that fail.”
“I’m still encouraged that, at the end of the day, states will be given the ability to draft their own plans, because it’s different in Georgia than it is in Texas or New York,” Dempsey said. “But I do think the conversation has to switch to health care. Right now we seem to be dealing with insurance care.”
Dempsey said she has faith in Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a physician and former Georgia congressman. He’s going to do his job, she said, and he’s very familiar with the needs of his home state.
“We can’t let Americans not have the resources, the opportunities, for better health and better healthcare,” she said. “I think that burden will fall on him, period, if they can’t come up with a workable plan or if they do.”
The Georgia Department of Community Health and Department of Education are seeking federal funding that would more than double the number of school nurses in the state.
In a joint effort with the Georgia Department of Education, the Department of Community Health board voted to approve a nursing services reimbursement program that would draw an estimated $48.6 million in additional federal dollars, assuming no major changes to Medicaid.
There were 1,629 nurses and 307 unlicensed health care and clinic workers in Georgia schools last spring. They are the only medical workers some students see, especially in rural areas where hospitals have closed and doctors are scarce. School nurses provide routine and preventive screenings and examinations, diagnosis of health problems and monitoring and treatment of chronic conditions.
The money is available as a subsidy to schools that provide such care to students who qualify for Medicaid services, generally those from lower-income households.
That “assuming no major changes to Medicaid,” is a pretty big assumption, however.
The State House Rural Development Council heard about mental healthcare needs at its meeting in Thomasville.
One major thing representatives from the Department of Behavioral Health talked about was getting people out of state hospitals and back into community-based services. There are still 209 patients at state hospitals in Georgia.
“You can’t just close a hospital and figure it out,” said Judy Fitzgerald, Commissioner of Department of Behavior Health and Development Disabilities.
It’s been almost five years since Southwestern State Hospital closed its doors in Thomasville, but state and local leaders said the community still feels the effects of that decision every day.
“Can we do something about it? Are more beds needed?” asked Darlene Taylor.
“How do we get the people to the right level of care? And maybe it’s a bed, but maybe we put them in one of the other resources available in region 4,” said Fitzgerald.
Thomas County Sheriff Carlton Powell told the representatives that a lot of the time his deputies and officers are having to deal with crisis situations out in the community
Powell said sometimes his staff even has to transport those folks to places as far as Savannah and Columbus on a weekly basis.
“Your local people are picking up the tab and are picking up the [lion's] share of the cost,” said Powell.
Rural hospital closures also affect the surrounding community’s economy.
While a closed hospital would be bad for doctors and patients, it would also do disproportionate damage to delicate rural economies where the local hospital is often one of the largest employers along with the public school system.
When Parkway Regional Medical Center in Fulton, Kentucky, closed in 2015, the city lost $200,000 in tax revenue, or about 8 percent of its annual budget. City leaders responded by raising a tax on alcoholic beverages so they could continue to fund their police department.
“It had a devastating effect on our community,” Fulton City Manager Cubb Stokes said.
Two professors of economics write that the U.S. Senate health care bill could exacerbate the opioid crisis.
This epidemic is one of the most critical public-health issues facing the United States today, but Republicans in Congress seem uninterested in truly grappling with it. Under their proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, a situation that had been slowly improving wouldget much worse.
Before the ACA was implemented in 2014, most impoverished adults with substance abuse issues – no matter how poor — had limited access to health coverage because Medicaid doesn’t treat substance abuse as a qualifying disability for benefits. Opioid overdose death rates rapidly escalated, but treatment rates remained flat.
The good news is that, primarily due to changes in Medicaid, the United States has more than doubled its total spending on evidence-based substance-abuse treatment for the poor. The bad news is that even with that success, we are facing a massive shortfall in addressing the needs of those with opioid addiction issues. Four out of five people with opioid use disorder do not receive treatment, which means there are nearly 2 million Americans who are addicted to opioids and do not benefit from the proven treatment that could help them.
We need a comprehensive strategy to build on the insurance expansions of the ACA to reach those millions of Americans. The original Senate health-care bill, however, proposes a rollback of the Medicaid expansions that had finally slowed the rapid growth of this devastating problem.
Lost opportunities for substance-abuse care in non-Medicaid expansion states have already cost countless lives. Repealing the ACA would take away access to treatment from hundreds of thousands more. This would be nothing less than a grave moral failing and a travesty for our country.
Former Georgia Congressman John Linder addresses federal healthcare legislation.
The U.S. Senate Republicans failed to agree on a replacement for Obamacare, so Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that they will vote on the repeal-only bill that passed two years ago before being vetoed by President Obama. If they pass the repeal-only bill, they will have two years to come up with a replacement. Let us hope that they stick to healthcare and set political payoffs aside for another day.
For beginners, they should jettison the perverse provision that keeps 26 year-old children on Mommy and Daddy’s insurance policy. That was a political payoff to a group that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008. It increased the cost of Mommy and Daddy’s insurance and removed millions of healthy young people from the general pool leaving it older, sicker and costlier. Welcome to government healthcare!
When you begin reform with a political payoff you ought not be surprised to see your colleagues lining up with their political wish lists? Republican senators stepped up with their demands: more money!
The opioid crisis is real and urgent, but was not caused by our healthcare system and ought not be addressed in a reform of our healthcare system. It is being forced into the reform debate because there is a lot of money sloshing around. It should be addressed separately. Perhaps by the CDC.
Linder’s piece is long and hard to pull excerpts from, but it’s definitely worth reading in its entirety.