The blog.

20
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 20, 207

Virginia Puppy

Virginia is a 7-month old female Pit Bull mix puppy who is available for adoption from Forgotten Paws in Atlanta, GA. Virginia loves belly rubs and being cuddled. She loves toys and stuffed animals.

SnickersForgotten

Snickers is a 7-month old male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Forgotten Paws in Atlanta, GA. He’s expected to grow to 55-60 pounds. Snickers loves to snuggle, chase toys, and play tug-of-war.

Apricot

Apricot is a 7-month old female Corgi and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Forgotten Paws in Atlanta, GA. She’s expected to grow to about 35 pounds as an adult.

Apricot gets along with other dogs and is almost housebroken, is crate trained and sleeps all night with no accidents. She’s learning to walk on a leash.

20
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 20, 2016

New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights on November 20, 1789.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the water lawsuit between Georgia and Florida on January 8, 2018.

Georgia lawyers hope to use the showdown to convince the high court to confirm a major legal victory in February. That’s when a special master appointed by the Supreme Court urged the justices to reject Florida’s call for strict new water consumption limits.

The nine justices could approve or reject Lancaster’s recommendation regarding the “equitable distribution” of water or direct him to re-examine the case. Congress could also weigh in — lawmakers from Georgia, Florida and neighboring Alabama have all tangled to have their say in recent years — and other lawsuits are possible.

Gov. Nathan Deal has shifted more than $30 million in the state budget so far to pay for this particular legal battle with Florida, and his administration signaled it was ready to spend more to win the fight.

President Trump added Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant to his short list for a future nomination to the United States Supreme Court.

Trump said he would consider Georgia Justice Britt Grant for a position on the nation’s highest court should a new vacancy occur, adding the jurist to a pool of roughly two-dozen other potential appointees.

The president also added Atlanta-based federal court Judge Kevin Newsom to the list. The former Alabama attorney was recently confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Grant joins colleague Keith Blackwell on Trump’s list of conservative jurists. The former Cobb County prosecutor and state Court of Appeals judge was named by Trump last year in the weeks leading up to the election.

Former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile spoke in Atlanta this weekend.

Brazile told the AJC she didn’t know Keisha Lance Bottoms or Mary Norwood, the two women vying in Atlanta’s Dec. 5 mayoral runoff, but that she’d “sent a check” to Democrat Bottoms’ campaign.

“I clearly would prefer the Democrat to win,” Brazile said. “But Atlanta, which has already elected a female mayor years ago, will once again have another female mayor.”

She later told the crowd she’d made a donation to Democrat Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign.

Dennis Brown has taken the oath of office as the new Forsyth County District 2 Commissioner.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation warned that suicides among minors are rising.

Youth suicides in Georgia have been spiking in recent years, causing alarm among officials at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and prompting a summit at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Friday night.

The GBI hosted the event with state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, as an honored guest. The summit was designed to highlight the issue and prompt the Gwinnett community to try and address it. Similar summits are expected to be held around the state.

But, it was the statistical numbers that GBI Child Fatality Review Unit Special Agent in Charge Trebor Randle said people should find alarming: 38 Georgians between the ages of 5 and 17 have committed suicide this year.

Last year, the total was 48. In 2015, it was 51. The numbers from 2012, 2013 and 2014 fluctuated between 32, 36 and 30 respectively.

“Suicide deaths in Georgia has reached an all-time high from what we’ve been seeing,” Randle said of the five-year data.

Georgia Senate Committee meetings will be live-streamed.

Beginning the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, Georgians who are interested in watching state senators at work can live-stream committee meetings being held in the statehouse.

Members of the Georgia Senate on Friday held a mock committee meeting led by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, to test out the new wiring and equipment.

“The work of the General Assembly should be transparent to everyone without having to take off work or drive to Atlanta,” Shafer said. “Legislators do a better job when they’re being watched, and the people of Georgia ought to be able to see the laws that impact them being made.”

Three committee rooms in the Capitol and two more in the adjacent Coverdell Legislative Office Building have been wired for video and sound. Events held in the Senate Press Conference Room also will be live-streamed.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) has an announced opponent for his 2018 reelection.

[Jen] Slipakoff, who has never run for office before, explained why she decided to challenge Ehrhart, who was elected 30 years ago in 1988.

“He’s been on my radar for a bit. I’ve seen some of the bills that he has put forth, and I’m not happy with several of them,” she said. “I’m not happy with his methodology and some of the forms of intimidation that he likes to use, particularly where I have a lot of concern surrounding some of his threats that he makes to our public universities and the universities that receive public funding in terms of taking away their funding — most recently Georgia Tech, where they had indicated they planned to be a sanctuary school and the funding was cut for their library. He’s threatened Kennesaw State funding after they hosted the Art AIDS in America art show. I went to that exhibit. I thought it was an impactful — certainly controversial — but also very impactful, and I certainly learned something. And it pushed me to think. And it was beautiful and it was haunting, and I was disappointed to see that it also became sort of a catalyst for threatening Kennesaw State’s funding. I don’t think that that’s the role of our state Legislature. He’s a legislator, not a Board of Regents member, and I was very concerned about that tactic of intimidation.”

“Representing the views of the vast majority of your constituents is not intimidation,” Ehrhart said. “Radical leftists like Slipakoff want to intimidate everyone like her heroes in (Barack) Obama’s administration did when actually threatening funding of university units who did not adopt the hateful radical Democrat agenda. My job is to hold universities accountable who spend taxpayer money.”

State Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) also has drawn opposition for next year.

[Democrat] Lucy McBath is running for House District 37 held by state Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta.

Another [Democratic] candidate, Luisa Wakeman of east Cobb, said she is running for House District 43 held by state Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-east Cobb.

[Democrat] Erick Allen, who lost to state Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, in 2016, by a margin of 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent, announced he would be challenging Golick again.

Cobb Democrats were particularly enthusiastic about voters sending two Democrats into the runoff for the seat formerly held by former state Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Smyrna: attorney Jen Jordan and dentist Jaha Howard.

“No longer in Cobb County can they put up candidates that are not of good quality and expect to win,” said Michael Owens, chair of the Cobb Democratic Committee. “From this day forward, Cobb County Dems will be a force in this county. Our candidates will be strong.”

Warner Robins voters will head to the polls for a December 5th runoff for City Council between Daron Lee and Eric Langston.

The population of Warner Robins is about 75,000, and on Dec. 5, it could be that fewer than 5,000 voters decide an election for an at-large City Council post.

Just 17 percent of registered voters turned out for the Nov. 7 general election, which featured a hotly contested three-way mayoral race and two City Council contests. The city has 39,126 registered voters, and only 6,797 people voted in the general election.

Savannah City Council is considering holding a referendum for a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

The Savannah City Council recently voiced support for holding another transportation sales tax referendum, five years after voters rejected a previous effort to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for roads, bridges and bicycle paths in Chatham County.

The mayor and aldermen directed staff on Oct. 26 to send a letter to Chatham County expressing their interest in pursuing another Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The Chatham County Commission must call a formal meeting and invite all of Chatham’s municipalities to start the process before a referendum can be held. The city council decided to encourage the county to move forward in response to a letter the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia recently sent to the state’s counties to gauge their interest in TSPLOST.

Legislation passed since the 2012 referendum now allows for single-county TSPLOSTS of up to 1 percent on sales, rather than requiring the tax be raised and spent in multi-county regions. That change could increase the likelihood of a second referendum passing since many local voters were opposed to funds raised in Chatham going toward projects in other counties, said City Attorney Brooks Stillwell.

The City of Rome and Floyd County are asking state legislators to consider reforms to sales tax collections.

[Floyd] County Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace noted that expected bumps haven’t materialized from big events such as the recent air show and tournaments at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.

“We didn’t have a sales tax holiday this year, and our collections were down that month,” Assistant County Manager Gary Burkhalter added.

The problem is threefold, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia: internet sales, sales tax exemptions and the state Revenue Department’s sole control over the distribution.

Two bills that passed the House and are awaiting Senate action would require out-of-state vendors to collect tax on the items they sell in Georgia, and require the DOR to provide more specific information to local governments.

Joel Wiggins of the Georgia Municipal Association said local brick-and-mortar businesses also are losing sales to online retailers that are not collecting sales tax.

“It’s a question of marketplace fairness,” Wiggins said, adding that “It is a shame that someone who won’t put a building up in Georgia, we give them a 7-percent break on taxes.”

17
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 17, 2017

Scooby

Scooby is a young male Shepherd dog mix who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc Milledgeville, GA.

Scooby is a sweet shepherd mix who loves everyone!

Jack Arf

Jack is a year-old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc Milledgeville, GA.

Jack loves everyone and would be an excellent companion.

Rizzo

Rizzo is a young male Rat Terrier and German Shorthaired Pointer mix who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Rizzo had a rough start to life, but would love to become a part of your family where he could show you all the love he has to give! He has co-existed happily with other small animals and has lovely leash manners. If your home could use a pint-sized dose of love, Rizzo might just be your man!

17
Nov

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

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

Lincolnatgettysburg

Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863; he delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democratic state legislators prefiled legislation to allow local governments to remove confederate monuments.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, pre-filed house Bill 650 while state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, pre-filed Senate Bill 302. State law prohibits the defacing, removal or concealing of monuments to the Confederate States of America, including the carving on Stone Mountain.

If either bill passes, local governments or the “public entity” that owns monuments at Stone Mountain and other places around the state would have the authority to remove those monuments.

“Citizens in the city of Decatur and DeKalb County have voiced their opinions and asked me to introduce legislation to allow local governments to decide to remove or modify monuments that are located in public spaces,” Oliver said in a statement. “This legislation would simply return this decision making authority to Georgia’s cities and counties and provide more local control.”

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) also introduced her annual anti-gun bill, this year targeting bump stocks.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, filed the bill Wednesday, the first day lawmakers could present legislation to be considered when the Legislature returns in January.

“There is no justification for this kind of device being easily sold and easily implemented to make a weapon more dangerous,” she said.

Passing such legislation will be a tall order. At least one state senator and the lieutenant governor [Casey Cagle] said they oppose state-level restrictions on the devices.

A State House Study Committee heard testimony that the incidence of Hepatitis C is rising amid the opioid epidemic.

For the first time in history, Georgia’s level of hepatitis C infection has surpassed 14,000 victims in one year, the state epidemiologist on Thursday told a study committee in the Georgia House of Representatives. And the likely main culprit, she said, was heroin needles.

Health officials can’t interview every patient whose case is reported. But among those who are, the most common risk factor is the hepatitis C victim also reporting intravenous drug use: More than 70 percent report having done it at some time in the past, and more than 60 percent report having done it within the past six months.

“It leads us to believe that the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemics are related to hepatitis C as well,” said the epidemiologist, Dr. Cherie Drenzek.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, the committee’s chairwoman, pressed on the issue of treatment, which she noted was wildly expensive compared with most Georgians’ household incomes, at a cost approaching $20,000 or more.

“When we say ‘referring to treatment,’ ” Cooper said, “it would seem that for many people and drug users that would be a big huge barrier.”

The House Study Committee on Georgians’ Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care has now finished meeting and is tasked by law with considering whether to recommend legislation. Over the course of its meetings it has discussed infectious diseases such as the flu, asthma and HIV, as well as the opioid epidemic and mental health services. Any recommendations are to be issued by Dec. 1.

Former Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) writes about the federal response to the opioid crisis.

Following months of uncertainty, President Trump late last month made good on his promise to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. After much talk about fighting the devastating and deadly impact of these highly addictive drugs, the administration is now taking action.

The president is asking the Department of Health and Human Services for a declaration of a public health emergency under the Public Health Service Act. This action allows medical personnel to be deployed to the hardest hit areas, and empowers HHS to ease any regulations that could get in the way.

But such declarations were designed to deal with infectious diseases, not addiction and substance abuse disorders. There is also no clear way for paying for it. At present, the .

That realization begs the question of how this emergency declaration will address the years of treatment and recovery support that many with opioid addiction will need. One thing remains certain — this epidemic will not follow the dictates of government declarations.

This country cannot afford to let Congress’s failure to pass health care reform derail the fight against opioid addiction. Nor can it afford to pat itself on the back by making dramatic, but ultimately toothless, declarations that opioid addiction is a serious problem and one that needs more resources but they are not forthcoming.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) wielded the gavel on the Speaker’s rostrum upon passage of the House Tax Reform plan.

The Gainesville Republican has not only been a supporter of his party’s tax reform proposal — which has attracted mixed reviews as experts debate whether the complicated proposal cuts or raises taxes and spending in the long term — Collins gaveled in the vote that passed the bill Thursday. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

Collins praised the bill in an announcement Thursday, saying that “middle-class Americans and job creators deserve relief from burdensome taxes and the opportunity to pursue more of their ambitions on their terms.”

The tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, delivers those changes to voters, Collins argues.

But while the GOP and Democrats continue to debate tax reform in the Senate, Collins told The Times this week that he hopes another of his bills will get some more attention in the House.

The Redemption Act is Collins’ attempt to get Georgia-style criminal justice reform on the federal books. The bill focuses on evaluation, training and education of nonviolent offenders, including dealing with drug addiction, to make adjusting to society easier when sentences are concluded.

Among other things, it allows offenders to finish their sentences in lower-security prisons and halfway houses if they complete their program.

But on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed some skepticism about pre-release programs like the Redemption Act.

During a hearing largely focused on investigations of Russia, Sessions and Collins discussed the Georgia Republican’s bill.

Attorney General Chris Carr‘s office will hear public comment on the sale of Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center to for-profit Hospital Corporation of America.

The hearing will provide a detailed look at the proposed sale of all assets of Memorial Health Inc. to Hospital Corporation of America Healthcare Inc. through Savannah Health Services, its wholly owned subsidiary, and the continuation of its core services for area residents.

If approved, the deal would mean the sale of nonprofit Memorial to HCA’s subsidiary possibly as soon as year’s end.

The public hearing is part of the state attorney general’s office review of the Sept. 22 filing and the required 90-day review period before that office can either approve or reject the proposal.

The transaction would need to meet certain regulatory requirements and receive a favorable approval from the Attorney General’s office before it can be completed. Once completed, the hospital and its outpatient clinics and facilities will become full members of HCA’s South Atlantic Division.

A key piece of the proposal will be whether charitable assets are placed at unreasonable risk if the transaction is financed in part by the seller and whether any disposition proceeds will be used for appropriate charitable health care purposes.

Memorial’s 2016 financial report showed a loss of almost $44 million, with total revenues of $581 million – a significant increase from the previous year’s $22.5 million loss, but one that officials had warned of for several years. Memorial, the region’s safety net hospital, is a two-state health care organization serving a 35-county area in Georgia and South Carolina. It includes a 612-bed academic medical center, Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks, a medical education program, business and industry services and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center.

Navicent Health and Houston Medical Center are in discussions that could lead to a partnership.

Navicent Health and Houston Healthcare officials are exploring a potential partnership that could be groundbreaking for the region.

Details of how the two medical care companies join forces will be worked out over the next few months, but officials say it will be a “strategic combination” and not a merger.

Based in Macon-Bibb County, Navicent Health is the region’s largest operator of medical facilities. The company has expanded its scope over the last year with the acquisition of the hospital in Baldwin County and taking over management of the Monroe County hospital.

Houston Healthcare includes two acute care medical facilities with a total of 282 beds in Perry and Warner Robins.

The goal is to create a new health system that improves the level of services and keeps “health care being local without our patients having to go somewhere else for care,” Navicent President and CEO Ninfa Saunders said Thursday. “Having a high performance organization that is supported by a group of employees that are vibrant and energized because we are doing exactly what we started out to do. … The synergy between the two organization will get us to a better place.”

“We do feel pursuing this agreement … will allow us to improve the access of quality of care and value for our communities, for our employees, for our patients and physicians,” said Charles Briscoe, the chief operating officer and vice president of Houston Healthcare.

The Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority moved forward toward issuance of $556 million in bonds.

University Hospital in Augusta approved the purchase of automated pharmacy systems.

The board of University, which traces its history to City Hospital founded in 1818, approved $4.4. million on Thursday to purchase three automated pharmacy systems that employ robot arm technology developed for automotive company Tesla to pick up and compile drugs. The hospital will recover the purchase price within four years through savings on drugs and personnel, said Teresa Buschbacher, vice president of University Heart & Vascular Institute.

A new automated IV Station, for instance, will allow University to create its own IV solutions and pre-filled syringes it was buying from a vendor for about $1.2 million a year, and “will be a solution we control on-site,” she said. Another for cancer drugs will be more efficient, cost effective and help shield clinicians from potentially harmful exposures, Buschbacher said. The systems will free up nurses from having to get the drugs together from machines themselves, which can take up about a quarter of their shifts, she said.

“They’ll be able to spend more time at the bedside with their patients,” Bushbacher said. It will also cut down on the personnel needed in the pharmacy, who were doing many of these things by hand, and remove the possibility of human error, said Marie Jackson, director of the pharmacy.

The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta reached a construction milestone with placement of the highest steel beams in the new structure.

For weeks before the topping-out, project partners and the local community were invited to sign the final beam for posterity. The beam features more than 150 signatures. A crane raised an American flag and a Georgia state flag at the building site Thursday, both of which were flown over the State Capitol on Oct. 1, the first day of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

“With the signing and the placement of this beam, Augusta takes a step forward as the potential cybersecurity capital of the nation and soon to be the world,” Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said. “Our skyline and our community have forever changed by the addition of this state-of-the-art facility.”

The education and training center will prepare professionals to protect the nation from cybersecurity threats. The center is aligned with Augusta University’s Cyber Institute and AU’s recently launched School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. The center will anchor AU’s Riverfront Campus.

The center also will house an incubator for start-up cybersecurity companies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s new cybercrime unit.

The center also is partnered with Augusta Technical College.

“You’re not just building a building here in Augusta,” AU President Dr. Brooks Keel said. “You’re building the future. You’re building the future of how this region of the country prepares itself for the cyber tsunami that’s coming.”

ISO Georgia Peanut Commission candidates: I won’t feel like I’ve experienced the full-spectrum of the political profession in Georgia until I manage a campaign for Georgia Peanut Commission. From the Albany Herald,

Nomination meetings to fill two positions on the five-member Georgia Peanut Commission will be conducted during simultaneous grower meetings at 10 a.m. Dec. 14.

The commission’s Board of Directors consists of five Georgia peanut farmers who are elected from single-member districts. Representatives for Districts 1 and 3 will be determined at the meetings, which will be conducted by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation.

Any producer living in the district may be nominated or make nominations at the meeting. Incumbents are eligible for renomination. If more than one person is nominated, an election will be conducted by mail ballot. Commission by-laws state that a person must receive a majority of the votes cast for a position in order to be elected to the commission board.

Seven candidates have applied with the Judicial Nominating Commission for a new Superior Court judgeship for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which comprises Hall and Dawson counties.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 138 this year, creating the fifth seat. State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, said the circuit qualified for a fifth judge due to the caseloads.

The commission will next submit a short list to Deal of up to five people deemed qualified for the position.

The governor’s appointment will have a term running from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. After that, a nonpartisan election is held in 2020 for a four-year term.

An Atlanta City Council election might be headed for extra innings, at least in court if not at the ballot box.

At first, the Atlanta City Council race between Courtney English and incumbent Michael Julian Bond was headed to a recount.

But late Thursday, the outcome was still unclear: Bond claimed victory while English dropped his recount request and contended instead that a runoff election is required.

An incredibly close race is to blame for the confusion.

Results indicate Bond received 49.97 percent of the vote and English 49.52 percent. There were 422 write-in votes, or 0.51 percent.

Bond said the Atlanta election superintendent told him he had won. He said write-in votes don’t count if they aren’t cast for an eligible write-in candidate and there are no certified write-in candidates seeking the at-large council post 1.

“I believe this all stems from Fulton County. When they published the certified results they mistakenly included the write-in calculation and that should not have happened,” Bond said.

Richard Barron, the director of registration and elections in Fulton County, said when he first certified Fulton’s results, he did not realize that neither of the two candidates had reached the 50 percent mark.

He certified the results with write-ins. But with only two people in the race, he said perhaps he should have left them out.

“My guess is, it’s going to end up in court,” Barron said. “I’ve never had to worry about write-ins in a two-person race skewing results.”

16
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 16, 2017

Dellis

Dellis is a male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

Hello – my name is Dellis. Would you like to have a happy go lucky kinda guy added to your family? Well, that’s me! I’m the sweetest baby. My foster mom taught me to sit. I’m very well mannered. If you have a lake, can I come swim? I love to run and jump in the water. My foster mom thinks I’m part duck! I’ve been with my foster mom since I was a puppy (rescued from a high kill shelter). Please give me a forever home. I’ll give you lots of kisses!

Lady Bird

Lady Bird is a female Jack Russell Terrier & Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

Lady Bird is such a sweet baby. Full of energy. Loves to give kisses. She gets along great with MALE dogs only. Pulled from the shelter pregnant. She had 3 very large puppies which almost killed her giving birth. Only two survived. She has that JRT attitude, but the Beagle bark. She is crate trained. Lady bird will NOT do well with children. She is independent and relishes being left alone until she wants a hug. She is food agressive. If you have the time to work with her, she will make a great companion.

Mickey Nugget

Mickey is a small male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

Mickey is a little nut. Gets along with other dogs. Loves to be hugged. Paper trained and crate trained. Will need an apartment or a home with a privacy fence as he can climb a chain link fence. Estimated age 7 years.

We’d offer treats and belly rubs to three Georgia Court of Appeals judges, but that might be beneath the dignity of their office. From the Fulton Daily Report:

The fact that a dog bites someone doesn’t necessarily prove the owner is to blame, the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled.

A panel of three—at least two of whom admitted to being dog owners during oral arguments and one of whom has a dog with a Twitter following—reversed a trial court judge and said the case should go to a jury.

“After he was bitten on the hand by a dog, John Ogden filed suit against the dog’s owner, Katie Myers. Ogden filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of negligence per se, which the trial court granted,” Judge Tripp Self wrote in a Nov. 3 opinion. “Finding that an issue of fact exists as to whether the dog was carelessly managed under OCGA § 51-2-7 at the time of the incident, we reverse the order of the trial court.” Presiding Judge Billy Ray and Chief Judge Stephen Dillard (known dog owners) concurred. They reversed Fulton County State Court Judge John Mather.

Merritt recalled that Dillard and Ray mentioned their own pets and asked him in oral arguments, “How could a dog owner ever win?”

To be clear, the appellate judges are not saying the dog was not at fault for the bite. They’re just saying the dog deserves a day in court. The case is Myers v. Ogden, No. A17A1779.

16
Nov

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

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Representative Melvin Everson (R-Snellville) announced he will run for Republican National Committeeman from Georgia, assuming Randy Evans vacates the seat upon his confirmation as Ambassador to Luxembourg. From the press release:

In a letter to members of the Republican State Committee former State Representative Melvin Everson announced that he will run for Republican National Committeeman.

Fellow Republicans serving on the State Committee, after prayerful consideration, I have decided to announce my candidacy to become Georgia’s next Republican National Committeeman.

It is a great, and well-deserved honor, President Trump has bestowed upon Randy Evans in nominating him to become the next U.S Ambassador to Luxembourg. Randy has earned the respect of Republicans nationwide for his wisdom, his capabilities as a fair arbiter, and trusted leader within the Georgia Republican Party.

When Chairman John Watson sets in motion a called election to fill Randy’s position, I will enter the race and formally begin my campaign. At that time, there will be ample time for you to consider all the candidates’ qualifications, so that you can make an informed decision as to whom you will support and choose to serve our great state.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

Humbly, I ask for your consideration to become the next Georgia Republican National Committeeman, while looking forward to the opportunity to personally speak with you about the future of the Georgia Republican Party.

Melvin Everson

State Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) announced her resignation from the State House, effective December 31, 2017. From the Press Release:

Rep. Carter will assume her new role as Executive Director of Advancement at the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

Currently, she represents House District 175, which includes Brooks County as well as portions of Lowndes and Thomas counties. As a member of the House leadership team, Rep. Carter chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve my district as a state legislator for the past 11 years, and I am forever grateful to my constituents for entrusting me to represent them,” said Rep. Carter. “I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside what I consider the greatest delegation in the state, and I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a team.”

As a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, Rep. Carter has devoted herself to educating and empowering students.

“Representative Carter has been an invaluable asset to the House of Representatives, and we will certainly miss her insight and leadership,” said Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “Without a doubt, her work in the classroom brought a fresh perspective to the House of Representatives, and I know her students will equally miss her leadership. She is truly a champion for education, and the role she is assuming will allow her to continue touching the lives of students at an even greater level, which will ultimately build a better Georgia for us all.”

Rep. Carter added, “Impacting the lives of students on the classroom level has been an incredible experience. While leaving the classroom and my legislative position was an extremely difficult decision to make, I will now have the opportunity to extend that impact to more than 130,000 TCSG students across our state.”

Throughout her service in the state legislature, Carter has made several notable accomplishments, which have made monumental impacts on both the community and state.  For example, she played a crucial role in securing funding for Valdosta State University’s construction of the Health Sciences and Business Administration building. In addition, she was the lead sponsor of the Music Investment Act of 2017, as well as the chair of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Commission of 2016 and a working member of the Georgia HOPE scholarship and grant revision. She also served as Governor Nathan Deal’s House Floor Leader.

In recognition of her positive impact on education in Georgia, Rep. Carter has received numerous awards including Lowndes County Schools’ Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Educators Legislator of the Year Award, and Georgia School Counselors Association Legislator of the Year Award.

Representative Carter also participates in multiple community service organizations and has been recognized for her service through several civic awards.  In 2012, she received the Loyce W. Turner Public Service Award and an Above and Beyond Award from 4-H in honor of her support of youth development education.   In addition, she was named Valdosta’s Woman of the Year in 2002 and Brooks County’s Woman of the Year in 2014. She also received the Liberty Bell Award from the Valdosta Bar Association, the Mac McLane Award from Leadership Lowndes, and holds an honorary state FFA degree. In 2013, Rep. Carter received the high honor of being named one of only four “Power Women” in the state by Georgia Trend Magazine.

Rep. Carter is an alumni of Leadership Lowndes, Leadership Georgia, Valdosta Junior Service League, First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet, and the Valdosta-North Rotary Club. Upon resignation, she noted she looks forward to continuing participation in her community.  “Even though my work will be statewide, I will continue to reside in South Georgia,” she stated. “This is where my home and my heart are located.”

Bobby Christine has been confirmed by the United States Senate as the new United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today applauded the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Christine.

“Bobby Christine has served our state and nation in countless ways, including in the U.S. military as Judge Advocate General in Iraq, and I look forward to his continued service as U.S. attorney,” Isakson said in a news release from his office. “I applaud the Senate for its bipartisan unanimous confirmation of Bobby, and I am proud that he will be serving in this important role.”

Christine replaced Augusta attorney Ed Tarver, who was appointed by President Obama to the job in 2009. Tarver was one of the 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign by President Trump when he took office.

The Southern District of Georgia includes 43 of Georgia’s 159 counties in the southeastern region of the state.

Former First Daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush will be in Metro Atlanta this weekend on a book tour.

[Their book] “Sisters First” may help put an end to that. Less celebrity tell-all than a raising of the blinds on two simultaneously intertwined and independent lives, the book largely comprises alternating chapters written by Hager Bush and her sister, Barbara Pierce Bush.

The fraternal twin daughters of former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will headline a sold-out event at the Book Festival of the MJCCA on Saturday night. They’ll be “in conversation” with best-selling novelist and Atlantan Emily Giffin.

At Georgetown University, Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) called the Trump Administration “hell on wheels.”

Republican Businessman Clay Tippins has kicked off his campaign for Governor.

Clay Tippins, 44, formally entered the race Wednesday to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal. He enters the race as a virtual blank slate, with no public profile or voting record, little name recognition and without the huge trove of cash needed to finance his campaign on his own.

A graduate of Shiloh High School, Tippins was captain of Stanford University’s swim team and joined the elite Navy SEALs shortly after graduating. In the mid-2000s, he re-enlisted in the Navy Reserves and was recently dispatched to Iraq for a counter-terrorism tour of duty.

He’s now an executive vice president of Capgemini, the global consulting firm, and lives with his wife and two kids in Buckhead.

Tippins kicked off his campaign at his Buckhead headquarters and dozens of supporters, including his uncle, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins. He compared the campaign to a “mission” that he’s determined to successfully carry out.

Tippins’s entry to the election probably most affects Senator Hunter Hill, whose campaigns have always highlighted his military service and who also shares a geographic base in Buckhead and Vinings.

“A Voice for all of Georgia” is a group attempting to recall Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

The group needs to collect nearly 800,000 signatures of registered voters by December 27 to put the recall on the ballot.

The number of signatures needed, as well as the fact that historically, roughly half of election petition signatures are invalidated, make this more of a negative public relations campaign than an actual recall.

The Liberal Athens tabloid Flagpole has an interesting story on the Democratic victories in this month’s special legislative elections.

[Republican Houston] Gaines made some strategic choices that, in retrospect, obviously didn’t work. He labeled himself “the voice of a new generation,” but surrounded himself with old-school Athens figures like Denson and Vince and Barbara Dooley. It seemed like he was the only person in his campaign photos under 70. Past ACCDC chairman Russell Edwards hounded him about Trump, and he never could figure out a good answer. Then he stumbled again when Flagpole lobbed him a softball about his “unique perspective,” and he responded that, “It’s obvious just by looking at us that we have a different perspective.” He might have meant their age, but he was running against a Latina woman, so not everyone took it that way.

In the end, Gaines couldn’t justify why he was running as a 22-year-old, other than that a lot of powerful people liked him. Gonzalez has a lifetime of experience as a working-class mom and as a media and entertainment lawyer, and voters grew more comfortable with her as they got to know her.

“I think it was a lack of motivation” among Republicans, said Watkinsville City Councilman Dan Matthews. “[Gaines] didn’t have an issue that fired people up, and the lack of experience led people to not want to vote for him.”

Meanwhile, Wallace’s Republican opponents—Tom Lord, Steven Strickland and Marcus Wiedower—all wholeheartedly embraced Trump. That didn’t work, either.

While Gonzalez emphasized progressive, populist positions like Medicaid expansion, a $15 minimum wage and net neutrality, Wallace ran a more centrist campaign focused on pocketbook issues like lowering Georgia’s car insurance rates, which are among the highest in the nation. “My goal in entering this race was to push the conversation back to the middle, where I think most of this district, this state, this country lives,” Wallace said.

Bob Trammell must have known something we didn’t. House Democrats recently elected the Luthersville representative their leader—replacing Stacey Abrams, who resigned to run for governor—and he trekked all the way to Athens to drop in on Gonzalez and Wallace. After years of leaving deep-red districts uncontested, Democrats ran for all eight open seats and flipped three of them.

“I think the takeaway is we should always strive to have competition,” Trammell said. “We should contest districts like this [119] where we haven’t had candidates, because voters are craving choice.”

If there’s one lesson for Democrats and Republicans to take from the Athens elections in HD 117 and HD 119, it’s that step one to an election victory is a name on the ballot.

Absentee votes appear to have swung the Hampton City Council elections.

Just over 13 percent, or approximately 135, of the 1,035 votes cast in the city of Hampton’s election this year were submitted by mail. That’s more than the average 3 percent of absentee voters in the cities of McDonough, Stockbridge and Locust Grove.

Winners Mayor Steve Hutchison and council members-elect Errol Mitchell, Willie Turner and Elton Brown each received 100 or more absentee votes in the election.

The defeated candidates received eight votes or fewer from absentee voters.

“We win the best way we know how. We do know a lot of our people, if they can do absentee, they prefer not to go to the polls,” said Turner. “It was up for us to get on the ground and rattle the ones we can in the neighborhoods. We needed to get as many absentee votes as we could on the ground. If we could be competitive out there, then we knew the absentee could be the key to pull us over the top. We knew the community and from the last election a lot didn’t want to go to the polls. So we talked to them and told them they need to do absentee ballots.”

The Republican Governors Association is meeting in Austin, Texas this week ahead of the 2018 elections.

Vice President Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker during the two-day gathering of the Republican Governors Association, which kicks off Wednesday in Austin, Texas.

Earlier this year, Democrats lost special congressional elections in Kansas, Montana, Georgia, and South Carolina, but last week won the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. The party also erased a previously dominant Republican majority in the Virginia House and gained control of Washington state’s Senate.

Republicans will still hold a 33 to 16 advantage in governorships nationwide after January. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is an independent up for re-election next year.

The Democratic successes revealed some potentially troublesome trends for Republicans. In Virginia, suburban women failed to turn out strongly for GOP candidates. In 2016, that demographic helped put Mr. Trump in the White House. By comparison, minority turnout for Democrats was strong.

Republican Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson called the results a “voice of displeasure with some things that are happening in Washington.”

Even so, Mr. Thompson said Republicans should not panic.

“You already have Republican governors in some blue states that have their own brand separate from Washington,” said Thompson, pointing to Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Georgia’s own Paul Bennecke serves as Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association.

National GOP Strategists are also accelerating their plans for 2018 ahead of midterm elections, where the party holding the White House usually loses seats.

Republican strategists are warning that some of the party’s veteran House incumbents aren’t adequately preparing for the 2018 election, putting the GOP majority at risk by their failure to recognize the dangerous conditions facing them.

Nearly three dozen Republicans were outraised by their Democratic challengers in the most recent fundraising quarter. Others, the strategists say, are failing to maintain high profiles in their districts or modernize their campaigns by using data analytics in what is shaping up as a stormy election cycle.

“There are certainly incumbent members out there who need to work harder and raise more money if they want to win,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House GOP’s top super PAC. “They’re fundamentally not prepared for how they’re about to be attacked.”

After Democrats’ sweeping victories last week, Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, wrote a pointed memo — titled “Surviving the 2018 Election” — addressing Republican incumbents. The firm counseled incumbents to start their reelection campaigns earlier than planned, to do early message testing and to begin planning their voter turnout operation now, as opposed to next fall.

“Some [members] get it and some don’t,” said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster with POS. “First thing we’re saying to them is, ‘Don’t be in denial, this can happen to you.’”

The [Congressional Leadership Fund]  test-ran the on-the-ground strategy this spring in Georgia’s special House election, where more than one-third of its spending to help Republican Karen Handel went into its field program and other non-TV work. The super PAC will likely need to do the same next November for GOP voters, who have grown frustrated with Congress’ failure to repeal Obamacare.

Stockbridge city government could lose between $4.2 million and $6.1 million in annual funding if a new city of Eagles Landing is incorporated.

City spokeswoman Charisma Webster said Mayor Judy Neal and the city council heard the results Nov. 8 from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government in a hearing before the state Senate committee on state and local governmental operations.

Henry delegation members District 17 State Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, and state representatives Dale Rutledge, Andy Welch and Brian Strickland submitted bills supporting the city of Eagle’s Landing in the 2017 session, which can be carried over in 2018.

If enacted into law and approved by voters, the legislation can be “damaging,” Neal said.

“To remove between 44 percent and 64 percent of the city’s revenues is wrong and will tear this community apart,” she said in a statement.

Webster said the property proposed to be de-annexed will, if approved, put about 33 percent of the existing city’s population into the new one.

It will also relocate 48 percent of the assessed value of the city’s residential properties and 54 percent of commercial properties’ assessed value, she said.

The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District (CID) has changed its name to Gateway 85 Gwinnett CID.

The United States House of Representatives passed a defense bill that includes money to keep A-10s flying.

The 2018 defense spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday includes money to keep Warthogs flying.

The bill contains $103 million for replacing aging wings for the Air Force’s A-10C “Warthog” ground attack planes, some of which are stationed at Moody AFB. Lack of money for replacing the aging parts led an Air Force general earlier this year to warn that some of the Warthogs would have to be grounded.

Boeing is under contract with the Air Force to deliver 173 wingsets through 2017. Defense News reports that Boeing is having trouble delivering wingsets on time due to a part that is being reworked. Moody’s Warthogs are newer so the base “is in better shape than a lot of units,” said Rachel Ledbetter, spokeswoman for Ga. Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.)

Tybee Island will begin a program of grants targeted to raising some homes above flood levels.

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 15, 2017

Captain Hook

Captain Hook is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Chopper

Chopper is a male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Jake Dirt Road

Jake is a young male Golden Retriever & Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Dirt Road Doggies Rescue, INC in Gillsville, GA.

Hi, I’m Jake! I’m a sweet, tender hearted boy who’s waiting for the love of my life to come along. I know I’ve got a little skin problem right now because I was starving & neglected when the wonderful humans at DRDR saved me. But, I’ve been told not to let that bother me because I’m taking medicine to fix that! Once it clears up, I’m gonna be a really good looking guy!  

I’m a little smaller than my brothers but my foster mommy thinks it’s just because I’m more submissive than they are. I’ve been learning how to walk on a leash. At first, I was like “NO WAY!” but I’ve got the hang of it now & I walk on a leash like a boss! I’ve also been crate training & I’m proud to say, I haven’t had one single accident! I got this!

With all of these exciting changes in my life, there’s just one thing missing. You. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Love, Jake.

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

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

On November 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order implementing the unanimous recommendation of the  Review Commission and suspending Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby from office. Deal later appointed Bobby G. Sapp to serve as Worth County Sheriff until the charges against Hobby are disposed of or until the end of the current term.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson told Rotarians Monday that Roy Moore should withdraw from the Alabama Senate race.

Addressing a crowd of about 150 Monday afternoon at a Rotary Club luncheon, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, joined a growing list of Republican senators calling on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down.

“The allegations seem a lot more credible than any defense he has put up.” Isakson said. “Something like that is inexcusable and should be intolerable.”

Isakson said nothing is more important than one’s integrity, and the U.S. Senate cannot afford to house anyone with questionable moral character. But in the unlikely event Moore heeds the calls to step aside, a Democrat winning the seat in deep red Alabama could tip the scales in close votes on the Senate floor.

“As a member of the Republican Party and an elected Republican, there’s no circumstance under which having a Democrat would be better (than having a Republican),” said Isakson, “That said, anybody who violates the moral code of ethics and decency should not be serving in the United States Senate.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue designated 83 Georgia counties as disaster areas after Hurricane Irma.

Counties declared under the disaster designation include Glynn, Brantley, Camden, McIntosh and Ware counties, among others.

The declaration means farm operators in the designated counties are eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-1. The assistance includes FSA emergency loans.

“I am very glad this declaration was made today,” Carter said in the release. “Even though time has passed, our community is still rebuilding from Hurricane Irma. One community with an especially hard road to recovery is our agricultural industry. I am glad this new assistance is available and we will be there to assist every step of the way.”

The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Special Tax Exemption, chaired by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) is expected to recommend changes to procedures for the adoption of targeted tax breaks.

Under the proposal, the Georgia House would file its usual plethora of tax break bills. The Senate would study the bills that pass the House over the interim between sessions, then decide on them the next year.

The General Assembly currently doesn’t given final approval to pension bills until after they’ve been studied over the interim, so the idea isn’t entirely new.

While the change on tax bills may not seem revolutionary, it would slow down the process dramatically from the way things are usually done. Typically, the House passes a slew of tax breaks on to the Senate with little time to review them before the 40th and final day of the session. They often are voted on, with limited study, on the 39th or 40th days of a session.

State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, the panel’s chairman, said his committee’s recommendation would give the Senate months to thoroughly vet tax breaks.

“Will it maybe slow things down a little? Yes, but I think the transparency and the good fiduciary part of me says that is the right thing to do,” he said.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center introduced a new peer-support program for patients needing addiction recovery.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center unveiled its ED-CARES Peer Support program Wednesday at its Gainesville campus. The program connects “certified addiction recovery empowerment specialists” in the emergency department.

“We’re going to match up people in recovery with those folks who experience overdose to say, ‘What do you want to do next? I’ve been right where you are. Let me help you,’” said Neil Campbell, executive director for the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

The Medical Center is the first hospital in Georgia helping overdose survivors work with peer recovery specialists. Northeast Georgia Health System CEO and President Carol Burrell said the program “demonstrates our willingness to continue to lead the way.”

In May, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. Act, which made Naloxone available over the counter. Naloxone, often seen as Narcan, is an opioid antidote.

The Medical Center handled 696 overdose patients in 2016 compared to 281 cases in 2015.

“It’s so prevalent and so widespread and people don’t realize that it’s affecting every family, all families,” said state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville.

The Georgia Ports Authority approved projects to increase the rail and road throughput from the port.

The Georgia Ports Authority approved rail and gate expansion projects on Monday that will double on-dock rail capacity and open service to inland markets.

The board unanimously approved spending $42.2 million as part of GPA’s $128 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal project.

The project will reduce travel time from Savannah to an arc of inland markets from Memphis to Chicago by 24 hours, Lynch said.

The project benefits imports and exports, and it will also provide much needed relief for Garden City residents and travelers stopped at railroad crossings throughout the day.

“The focus is two-fold,” said Griff Lynch, GPA executive director. “One is to increase capacity for growth (at the port) and to alleviate impact on the community.”

There will be a significant decrease in rail traffic through neighborhoods, Lynch said.

Estimates are that instead of railroad crossings being blocked maybe 10 times a day, it will drop to once or twice a day.

The Medical Association of Georgia honored Dallas Gay for his work fighting the opioid epidemic.

Gay received the Donna Glass Non-Physician Distinguished Service Award, which honors those who are not doctors that make “contributions to the advancement and support of medicine.”

Gay, whose grandson Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. died in 2012 from an overdose, has worked to increase availability of naloxone for first responders. The drug, often seen as Narcan, is the antidote in overdose cases.

In May, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. Act, which made naloxone available over the counter. Gay and the Partnership for a Drug Free Hall have also worked on expanding access to a downloadable checklist for those responding to an overdose.

The Augusta Commission extended the contract of City Administrator for three more years.

Columbus City Council will create a Liberty District to encourage revitalization around the historic Liberty Theatre.

Simona Perry will serve as the new Executive Director of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.

The 294-mile blackwater river flowing through portions of 22 Georgia counties is home to unique fish and wildlife as well as a beloved recreational resource for fishing, swimming and boating. The waterway has largely recovered from a 2011 fish kill, Perry said.

“It’s relatively clean and undeveloped,” she said. “There are always issues but we have the opportunity to be the model to keep your waterway what it should be.”

The Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization, which aims to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the basin, began in its current form in 2004 with the merger of the Canoochee Riverkeeper and the Friends of the Ogeechee group. It’s licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance. That massive 2011 fish kill on the river prompted a Clean Water Act lawsuit settlement with King America Finishing (now Milliken), which produced a stricter discharge permit, more frequent and transparent water testing protocol, and a $2.5 million settlement, about $1.3M of which funded an endowment to continue efforts to research and protect the river.

The Georgia Water Coalition released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of threatened water resources.

Members of the Lowndes County Board of Education disagree on whether to hold out-of-town meetings.

DeKalb Medical and Emory Healthcare have signed a letter of intent to develop a partnership.

The letter of intent means that DeKalb Medical, which has been seeking such a partnership, has ended discussions with other systems and is entering exclusive talks with Emory.

“We think there’s a great synergy between the academic health system [of Emory] and the community-based system,’’ Cheryl Iverson, a DeKalb Medical vice president, said Tuesday after the announcement. “We felt it was the best situation for us.”

“We’re engaged and hoping to get married,’’ she said.

“Both Emory and DeKalb Medical have a strong and historical commitment to providing exceptional care to the community,” Dr. Jonathan S. Lewin, Emory University executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of Emory Healthcare, said in a statement Tuesday. “We understand the importance of both community hospitals and academic medical centers in delivering optimal care to our patients. A partnership with DeKalb Medical will strategically support these efforts.”

Lewin added in an email that both Emory Healthcare and DeKalb Medical “have a strong historical commitment to DeKalb County.  Emory has had a presence in DeKalb County for over 100 years, with more than half of our employees residing in DeKalb and the surrounding vicinity.  DeKalb Medical similarly has a strong history of 56 years serving the patients and families of this region.”

DeKalb Medical has been challenged financially in recent years. The system reported a loss of $15.3 million on net revenue of $465 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.

Hospital officials have linked financial difficulties in part to a high level of uninsured patients.

DeKalb County legislators predict that 2018 will see a short legislative session.

By way of background, 2018 won’t just be  an election year, it’s a year of top-level turnover in state government. The governor is term-limited, the lieutenant governor is one of several folks running for the top job, and every other office under the Gold Dome is up for election as well.

So there’s some incentive for lawmakers to pack their 40 days of work close together at the beginning of the year so they can close the session and start campaigning.

But, there’s also an incentive to push for bills that look good on campaign mailers.

I think there will be significant pressure within the legislature to get out of session early, but counterpressure will exist in the form of uncertainty over federal spending plans and their effect on the Georgia state budget, the only legislation that is required to pass in the session.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Gwinnett) proposed allowing the creation of special tax districts to fund transit expansion.

 A Georgia lawmaker has a new plan for how to raise money to expand mass transit: let property owners near existing transit stations tax themselves.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, presented the idea at a meeting of the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding this week.

“If the people in [those areas] wanted to self-tax, they could self-tax, and that [revenue] would be given to a commission who would then dedicate those funds to expanding rail,” Brockway explained.

Three-quarters of property owners located within a quarter-mile of an existing transit station — like a MARTA station — would have to agree to create the special tax district.

The revenues collected in the “transit rail improvement districts” would go to expanding rail mass transit.

State Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) responded to the idea via Facebook.

Brett Harrell Train Tax

 Georgia Senate leaders are discussing seeking Medicare waivers to allow programs tailored to Georgia’s population needs.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle formed a Health Care Reform Task Force to come up with a way to restructure how the state delivers health care services. He said the task force will bring forth its reform ideas in January.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, a Rome Republican, said recently that the task force is looking at different types of proposals to help uninsured Georgians keep their health problems from escalating into chronic or serious conditions, the Rome News-Tribune reported recently.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, told media recently that Georgia should “put everything on the table” when it comes to covering more people.

“If you ask me what keeps me awake at night, it is that uncompensated care,’’ said Unterman, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “When you’re in the middle of the crisis, you have to look at everything, you have to be amenable, and I believe you have to compromise.”

Unterman told an Atlanta reporter that her ideas do not include a full-blown Medicaid expansion. She has narrower targets: Young people with behavioral problems, and those who are dealing with opioid addiction.

“It’s not opening up the door for a million people. It’s opening up the door for a hundred thousand [frequent patients] who you know you’re spending a lot of money on,” Unterman said. “Let’s bring the cost down. Let’s give them a better quality of life. To me, it’s just compassion.”

14
Nov

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

General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864. The March to the Sea began on November 15, 1964.

The planned route for the 17th Corps was to march from White Hall to Stockbridge, McDonough, Jackson, Monticello, and Gordon and encountered Confederate regiments from Kentucky at the Battle of Stockbridge. To the west, one or two Kentucky regiments engaged the 15th Corps in another skirmish.  [E]arlier that morning, Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum had led the 20th Corps eastward out of Atlanta with instructions to follow the Georgia Railroad eastward to Decatur, Lithonia, Covington, and Madison, tearing up the railroad along the way.

With three of his four columns on the road, Gen. Sherman remained in Atlanta with the 14th corps to oversee the destruction of anything with possible military value to the Confederacy. The next day, they would then proceed east on the road to Lithonia, then in a southeastern direction to Milledgeville, where the 20th and 14th corps would reunite in seven days.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order implementing the unanimous recommendation of the  Review Commission and suspending Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby from office.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson told Rotarians yesterday that Roy Moore should withdraw from the Alabama Senate race.

Addressing a crowd of about 150 Monday afternoon at a Rotary Club luncheon, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, joined a growing list of Republican senators calling on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down.

“The allegations seem a lot more credible than any defense he has put up.” Isakson said. “Something like that is inexcusable and should be intolerable.”

Isakson said nothing is more important than one’s integrity, and the U.S. Senate cannot afford to house anyone with questionable moral character. But in the unlikely event Moore heeds the calls to step aside, a Democrat winning the seat in deep red Alabama could tip the scales in close votes on the Senate floor.

“As a member of the Republican Party and an elected Republican, there’s no circumstance under which having a Democrat would be better (than having a Republican),” said Isakson, “That said, anybody who violates the moral code of ethics and decency should not be serving in the United States Senate.”

13
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 13, 2017

Timber1

Timber is a young male (3-4 months old) German Shorthair Pointer who showed up on a friend’s porch this weekend in North Georgia. He had no collar and was not chipped. He was skinny and hungry as though he’d been on his own for a while.

Timber2

Timber is great with people, including kids, and hasn’t used the bathroom inside. He needs a home – either foster or permanent ASAP. Email me directly if you’re interested in adopting or hosting him.

Timber3

Ella Best Friends

Ella is a small female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends–Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

Ella is a spunky girl who would love to go on adventures with you! She enjoys playing with her doggie roommates, her toys and afternoon naps. If you think Ella would be the perfect addition to your family come by and meet her today!

Ella is 1 year old and weighs 27 pounds.

Lemonade

Lemonade is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends–Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. Lemonade is 1 year old and weighs 23 lbs. With that size, I kind of suspect she might be a “Lemon” Beagle mix.

Goldie DanasDogHouse

Goldie is a young female Labrador Retriever & Golden Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from DanasDogHouse in Smyrna, GA.

14 wks/14 lb
Super sweet friendly little girl.
Loves to play with other dogs.
Fine with kids!!