On June 29, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sailed from Cadiz, Spain to invade Florida.
Johan De Kalb was born on June 29, 1721 in Germany. In 1777, De Kalb joined the Marquis de Lafayette in supporting the Americans against British forces, dying in Camden, South Carolina in 1780. In 1822, the Georgia General Assembly created DeKalb County.
On June 29, 1767, the British Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, levying a tax on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea in order to raise funds from the colonies.
On June 29, 1993, Governor Zell Miller bought the first ticket in the Georgia Lottery.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner ruled against County Commissioner Tommy Hunter’s argument that the county ethics board is unconstitutional because of its appointment process.
Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner’s ruling was a blow to the Hunter camp’s assertion that the ethics complaint filed against him by Atlanta resident Nancie Turner and, indeed, the county’s entire ethics process was unconstitutional. That process resulted in a recommendation that the Board of Commissioners publicly reprimand Hunter, which it did last week.
“Since the Board of Ethics serves merely as an investigatory function in making a recommendation to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, a public body comprised of elected members, rather than acting as the final arbiter, the ethics board and the ordinance creating it are not constitutionally infirm,” Conner wrote in her decision on Wednesday.
“We are pleased that the judge has deemed our Ethics Committee and Ethics Policy to be constitutional,” commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said in a statement. “While we certainly believed this was the case, it is good to have confirmation through the Court’s decision.”
But, while Conner’s decision may look like a defeat for Hunter, his spokesman, Seth Weathers, said he is not giving up.
“They call them activist judges for a reason,” Weathers said. “We were prepared for this and will be moving forward with additional legal measures. If they think they can deter us or make this go away, they are badly mistaken.”
Weathers continued his rant on Facebook.
My God, the other commissioners continue to publicly comment on a matter that is going to be resolved by the courts. I cannot believe they actually think this case is settled – if so, that’s sad. It’s going to be a rude awakening.
For clarification Charlotte, this one ruling is not proof that the unconstitutional actions you have taken are actually constitutional. It’s time to stop being so prideful and admit you were wrong.
Tybee Island City Council set the FY2018 property tax rate at the same level as the previous year.
Lowndes County Commissioners approved a FY 2017-18 without a millage rate increase.
The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission will consider alleged zoning violations abetted by Airbnb.
Airbnb residences in Valdosta are technically in violation of current zoning ordinances, said Matt Martin, Valdosta city planning and zoning administrator.
“I went online and found five of them (in Valdosta),” Martin said.
CyberQuest 2017 at Fort Gordon’s U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence ends this week.
During Cyber Quest, the Army assesses its cyberwarfare needs and shares them with industry and academic partners. Those partners then share their knowledge and technology with soldiers who train with it. The Army then examines if or how those new cyberwarfare approaches improve its capabilities.
Twenty-seven vendors participated this year, offering expertise in 40 “capabilities,” Morrison said. The many areas addressed included signal detection, geolocation, network operations, malware analysis, data processing and tactical systems.
This year — the fort’s second Cyber Quest event — also marked the first time the fort has assessed its electronic warfare capabilities.
“That is absolutely critical, because I would submit to you that the United States Army is behind many of our near-peer or even peer competitors in that critical field,” Morrison said.
Electronic warfare differs from cyberspace operations. Electronic warfare encompasses how electromagnetic signals are manipulated in areas such as radio, radar, sonar and infrared technology.
Columbus-based Synovus was named the Most Reputable Bank in America.
Manatees are being tracked off the Georgia coast.
Staff from wildlife agencies and organizations in Georgia and Florida netted eight manatees in Cumberland Sound in late May and early June. With a helicopter helping spot the animals, a custom manatee capture boat was used to encircle them with a net. They were then pulled onto the boat or a bank to tag and examine. Biologists and veterinary staff examined the six male and two female manatees, took samples, fitted each animal with a GPS transmitter and released all unharmed.
The project, led by Sea to Shore Alliance, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Aquarium, is expected to help document migratory paths and habitat use in the region, collect baseline data to help assess manatee health and map the protected species’ movements near Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
The GPS data have shown that manatees regularly venture into the submarine base, they’re able to find artificial freshwater sources to drink from, and a few have traveled into the open Atlantic venturing as far as five miles offshore. Biologists are also confirming things they long suspected but had no way to prove, such as the importance of the Intracoastal Waterway, or ICW — a narrow passage of natural and dredged rivers between the mainland and barrier islands – for manatees moving along the Georgia coast.
“The Intracoastal Waterway is like a manatee highway,” DNR wildlife biologist Clay George said. “But the ICW is also a primary passageway for boats moving up and down the coast, so this behavior may place manatees at added risk of boat strikes.”
Goodwill of North Georgia will receive a $1.2 million grant from the US Department of Labor to work on helping ex-offenders find work.
DeKalb County is discontinuing its glass recycling program.
Hazmat crews were called in to the Duluth Police Department after a load of synthetic opiate Fentanyl was spilled.
Duluth PD Officer Ted Sadowski said two officers were driving a load of Fentanyl back to the department from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.
Fentanyl is one of the strongest opiate drugs on the market and is often used for short-term, break-through pain after surgery, according to narconon.org. It’s also a frequently abused drug.
Sadowski said either Duluth PD or the Gwinnett Metro Task Force likely arrested somebody with Fentanyl recently and transported the drug to the GBI lab to be tested. The two officers were bringing the drug supply back from the lab to house as evidence on Wednesday afternoon.
When they got back to the department at about 1 p.m., the officers checked the back of their cars and realized the Fentanyl had spilled.
The Russell County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office found some counterfeit Percocet containing fentanyl, similar to those in a recent cluster of Middle Georgia overdoses.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate from synthetic opioid overdose has increased by nearly 75 percent from 2014 to 2015. That data includes all synthetics, such astramadol and fentanyl. Last year, LiveScience reported that deaths from fentanyl have doubled in a single year. In 2014, 4,200 people in the U.S. died from overdoses involving fentanyl, compared with 1,905 people in 2013. In short, the rate of fentanyl deaths increased from 6 deaths per 1 million people to 13 deaths per 1 million people during that one-year period.
Two professors write about what the American Health Care Act would do to rural healthcare.
Both the House and Senate bills to repeal and replace Obamacare would drastically reduce rural Americans’ insurance coverage and significantly threaten the ability of many rural hospitals and clinics to keep their doors open. Analysts show that the bill would provide insufficient tax credits to pay for rural premium costs, drastically increase the price of rural premiums and increase uncompensated care in rural hospitals.
The particular economic factors affecting rural health care institutions make rural areas particularly vulnerable to political shifts that disrupt services for existing patients and for those newly insured, creating immense challenges for rural providers. Steps that fail to account for the impact of financial hardship on these institutions not only hurt their bottom line but contribute to poor morale and workforce turnover and larger-scale decisions to reduce services, which decrease their ability to address patient needs.
At the same time, commitment to improving the health of rural Americans requires attention to the so-called upstream factors shaping rural health. That means preserving the safety net programs so vital in rural areas with underemployment and low-paying jobs, strengthening rural economies and investing in high-quality education.
If our leaders are serious about reform that will lessen the rural-urban mortality gap, they should recognize the unique needs of rural America and ensure health care policy reflects how vital access to quality care is to their financial success — not to mention their well-being.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke on GPB’s “Political Rewind” about healthcare in southwest Georgia.
Tomlinson said the Columbus area would be greatly affected by what happens with the [Republican] healthcare bill.
“In southwest Georgia, particularly, as you know, we have some of the poorest counties in Clay and Calhoun and Stewart and Webster County,” she said. “And so, you’re talking about a region of Georgia that relies heavily on things such as Medicaid and has seen … the closing of these rural hospitals.”
“It’s in real crisis,” she said. “And at the same time that puts an incredible load on our medical center, which is, of course, our public hospital, which our citizens pay ($15 million) a year to subsidize. And, you know, it’s serious business down there.”
She said some hospitals that closed might have had a shot if Gov. Nathan Deal had expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
“This affects people’s lives,” she said. “Not only does it reduce the number of good, medical industry jobs in our area. It reduces these rural hospitals that people rely on incredibly. And you can’t talk about economic development and have poverty levels like we do in some of these areas outside the Metro Atlanta area and not realize that healthcare is major component.”
Floyd County state legislators discussed the federal healthcare legislation.
State Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee, said Wednesday that Georgia General Assembly members want to be prepared for any federal funding changes.
“Whatever happens in D.C. will affect us in the states, of course, but until they take some action we’re still in limbo,” he said.
He also serves on the House Rural Development Council, which is holding hearings around the state. Access to healthcare is the focus of the next two sessions, set for July 19 in Thomasville and July 20 in Bainbridge.
“When you’re looking for ways to keep the population there and help attract business and industry to rural areas, the plight of rural hospitals is one of the things that play into it,” Lumsden said.
State Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said she’s hearing from a wide variety of constituents — including some who mistakenly think she’s in Washington, with a vote on the bill. Across the board, she said, is a desire to see the end of the mandate to buy insurance. But there are also a wide variety of fears.
“Particularly for those struggling with mental health, there’s real concern they may lose their benefits,” she said.
At a Medical Association of Georgia meeting where she was a panelist last week, she said providers such as physicians and hospitals were talking about the need for reimbursements to reflect the cost of care.
She said she told both groups, and others, to take time now to contact their federal lawmakers about their concerns.
The New Yorker writes about Clay County, Georgia, where a single physician provides healthcare for all residents.
Fort Gaines is in Clay County, which is consistently ranked among the poorest of the hundred and fifty-nine counties in the state. It currently ranks third-to-last in “health outcomes,” according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, up from dead last. Clay County’s only hospital closed its doors in 1983, long before [Dr. Karen] Kinsell, who is now in her sixties, arrived and became its only doctor.
Kinsell runs Clay County Medical Center, a facility with four exam rooms built out of a former Tastee-Freez. It’s a private practice, but she is a full-time volunteer. There is a receptionist and two other full-time staff members; they see “around thirty to thirty-five patients a day,” Kinsell said. Monty Veazey, the president of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, told me that “Kinsellcare” is the only health care that’s had a meaningful and positive effect here. “She’s going bankrupt treating everyone that comes in,” he said. “Most have no money, no Internet access, no other basic care. Many don’t have insurance. How much longer can she do that? I don’t know. But she’s their only hope.”
“My patients are sixty per cent black and forty per cent white. Forty per cent are completely uninsured, and we just ask them for ten dollars to cover the visit. If they can’t pay, then it’s free. We do that because this is one of the poorest places in Georgia, with some of the sickest people, and we’re adjoined by counties that are just as bad.
“We’ve had two rural hospitals in the wider area close in the last seven years. And the quality of the remaining really rural hospitals is pretty awful. You have to go in one of five directions to find health care from here: there’s a physician’s assistant in a waiting room twenty miles away. But the closest real hospital is thirty miles. A real regional hospital is sixty miles away if you stay in Georgia, forty miles away in Alabama.”
“I’m the only provider in the county, so it’s partly chronic care and partly urgent care that I do. There’s very high rates of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease. That sort of thing. We just did an S.T.D. check. I have leg pain reported in this next patient this morning. We have a very high rate of elderly and disabled people here, because of multi-generational poverty. People who can leave have left.”
“In all fairness, Obamacare, as much as I was for it—and I’m on it myself—didn’t affect us much at all. The first year it came out, southwest Georgia had the second-highest premium costs in the nation, after Vail, Colorado. And because not many people make enough to be allowed to buy into it, very few people around here signed up for it. We also were not allowed to be a provider, because people were allowed to pick and choose providers. Then, of course, Georgia did not expand Medicaid. That’s why about forty per cent of our patients are uninsured.”
“We didn’t see a whole lot of businesses here starting to offer insurance under Obamacare. Partly because the big companies—the chicken plant—already have insurance. And we don’t have many companies that are that fifty-to-one-hundred-employee size that would have been affected.”
State Senator Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna) says he took in a million dollars for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Republican Hunter Hill said Thursday he’s raised more than $1 million in the race for Georgia governor, a day ahead of a reporting deadline that will be an early test for gubernatorial candidates.
The state senator said in a statement that his fundraising shows that “Georgia Republicans are ready for a conservative outsider to change the way state government works.”
Hill’s campaign hopes his seven-figure take proves he’s a top-tier candidate. A U.S. Army veteran, Hill has tried to position himself as the “true conservative” in the race since announcing his run in April. He has staked out a staunchly conservative platform, railing against “sanctuary cities” and vowing to eliminate the state income tax.
Welcome to the top tier, Sen. Hill.