On August 31, 1864, Confederates charged Union forces at the Battle of Jonesboro, in which the CSA suffered more than 1400 casualties in one hour.
On August 31, 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which this Senate had previously passed.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Today at 9 AM, the first meeting of the Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians Study Committee convenes in Room 341 of the State Capitol, chaired by Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and Representative Don Parsons (R-Marietta). Check here for live video from the meeting. I’m not sure if they’ll broadcast, but it appears they will.
An article from February of this year in the Moultrie Observer looks at the issue.
Internet pathways into rural Georgia are so tenuous that a quarter of a million people lack access to even the most sluggish connections.
Sixty miles southeast of Atlanta, for example, portions of Jasper County see Internet speeds rising above 10 megabits per second – or less than half the 25 megabits considered broadband-level by the Federal Communications Commission but fast enough to stream some video.
That is considered a luxury by most in the county of fewer than 14,000 people. Others in Jasper County are more accustomed to 3 megabit connections — fast enough to consult Google. Many don’t even have that.
“Folks move down there, and think they’re going to have Internet service and good cell service, and they’re so disappointed,” said Rep. Susan Holmes, R-Monticello.
Holmes, a former educator, said she is especially concerned about students who may have Internet access at school but don’t have it at home.
“We feel like our students are not getting the opportunities they deserve,” she said. “Our parents are just desperate for better service.”
In Jenkins County, close to Statesboro and home to about 9,000 people, the same concern lingers. Students are issued iPads and Chromebooks but leave them at school because they have no service or limited service at home, said Mandy Underwood, executive director of the county’s development authority.
It’s an interesting issue that poses challenges for advocates of limited government and free markets, as the markets have simply decided it’s uneconomical to serve some parts of Georgia.
At 1 PM today, the Senate Legislative Process Study Committee will meet in Room 450 of the State Capitol with Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) chairing.
The Georgia House Military Affairs Study Committee met in Columbus chaired by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead) near Fort Benning yesterday to discuss protecting Georgia’s military installations from future rounds of Base Realignment and Closure.
“It’s critically important that you do everything possible, as you’re doing, in advance of the next BRAC round and before that list comes out, before that list is made public, to protect, preserve and enhance your military installations,” said Anthony “Tony” Principi, head of The Principi Group, a consulting company working with the Matrix Design Group to assist the Greater Columbus of Commerce with its strategy of averting cuts locally.
“Once that list comes out, you can make improvements, but it’s not going to count whether your base stays open or closes,” said Principi, a former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and chairman of the 2005 BRAC round that brought the U.S. Armor School from Fort Knox, Ky., to Fort Benning to form the Maneuver Center of Excellence alongside the Infantry School.
“The history of the previous four BRAC rounds also reveals to you that if an installation in your state makes the Defense Department’s list of closure or realignment, there’s an 85 percent chance your base is going to be closed or realigned,” he said. “So your key is to stay off the list.”
Fort Benning currently supports about 11,140 permanent-party military personnel, nearly 34,000 family members, just under 11,000 civilian workers and a weekly average of nearly 17,000 military trainees, according to a presentation by Gary Jones, executive vice president of government and military affairs at the chamber. Its fiscal year 2016 training load is expected to finish up at about 68,000, then dip by nearly 2,000 people trained in FY2017.
Fort Benning pays out roughly $110 million a month in salaries or $1.32 billion a year, Jones said. Regional contracts connected to the post total about $250 million a month or $3 billion annually.
“The bottom line is Fort Benning’s big. It’s got about 40,000 folks out there. There’s a lot of money that goes out there. It’s a big, big city,” said Jones, explaining the total economic impact of the installation now is about $4.75 billion when business sales and salaries paid to employees in the surrounding region are included.
Helen Drexler, Regional Vice President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield writes about the Safe Harbor Constitutional Amendment, Amendment number two on the November ballot.
Constitutional Amendment 2, if passed, will create the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. More importantly, it will help to improve the lives of some of Georgia’s most vulnerable children – children who are our neighbors, our friends and even our family.
Child sex trafficking is a horrible crime that leaves even greater tragedy in its wake. Frankly, it is hard to believe that in the same metropolitan region that is home to a booming technology industry, children are being sold for sex. That as families spend their summer vacations in the mountains or on the coast, children are being subjected to violence and exploitation. That in a state where the HOPE scholarship has made college more accessible to thousands of families, children lose their innocence at as young as 9 years old and far too often their own hope for a successful future.
Children who are trafficked have often lived a life filled with violence, forced drug abuse and constant threats to their safety. They experience some of the most extreme physical and psychological abuse imaginable. Those who escape or are rescued are in dire need of help to cope with depression, deal with drug dependency and address serious mental and behavioral issues. The help they need is both intensive and costly, and it is what the Safe Harbor Fund will directly support through $1 to $2 million in dedicated annual funding that will be used to help them return to a normal and healthy way of life.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp told WABE that Georgia’s election process is prepared for hacking attacks.
“It’s been in our radar, it will continue to be on our radar,” said Secretary of State Brian Kemp Tuesday. “We’re working hard everyday to make sure that those type of things don’t happen in Georgia. And then if for some reason they were to happen, we have plans to deal with that.”
Kemp declined to give specifics on the measures, citing security reasons. Kemp recently declined an offer by the Department of Homeland Security for cyber security assistance, raising concerns about the federal government’s intrusion.
“I think we’re all having to deal with the systems, we know them the best. This is part of our job,” Kemp said. “For us to have to even, I think, try to explain this to others would take away from doing the work of keeping the system secure or reacting to something that’s going on right at this moment.”
The sole witness so far: a key surveyor who explained why he thinks the real border is not the one shown on Macon-Bibb tax maps today, but is one that he said was laid out in the 19th century.
During a presentation lasting more than three hours, Terry Scarborough outlined how he used surveying, archaeological evidence and old documents — including maps — to conclude that Macon-Bibb has encroached on Monroe County over the years.
“In reality, the 1822 Bibb-Monroe boundary has never moved from its original location,” said Scarborough, a surveyor appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2005 to identify the boundary. That line, according to Scarborough, would give Monroe County a wedge of what Macon-Bibb now administers, including part of the Bass Pro Shops property and some nearby homes.
Monroe County, drawing on Scarborough’s research, is asking Kemp to make Macon-Bibb accept the surveyor’s line.
Macon-Bibb County, however, stands by a border that gives it the wedge of land that Monroe disputes. The land is worth about $2.1 million annually in property taxes for Macon-Bibb and its schools.
The state Supreme Court has heard parts of the dispute twice: about Kemp’s power to make a decision and about what evidence Kemp can consider.
Allegations of abuse against Savannah Alderman Tony Thomas are barred from prosecution by the statute of limitations and will not proceed, despite a 182-page report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
District Attorney Meg Heap, in a memo Friday to Savannah-Chatham Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin, said after hearing evidence and testimony from more than 40 witnesses that grand jurors found “the evidence presented does not support referral for grand jury review.
“According to its findings, the grand jury pointed to one factor that weighed heavily in its decision: the state is barred from prosecution because the statute of limitations has run in all cases,” Heap said.
“Multiple victims’ testimonies corroborated that Mr. Thomas displays a pattern of grooming young males to become sexual partners,” 14 grand jurors agreed as part of a three-page report. “While Mr. Thomas’ actions clearly violated (state law), unfortunately they are only misdemeanors and not felony cases.
“Also, his actions violated (state law); however, they cannot be considered being the statute of limitations has expired.”
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill pled no contest to a reckless conduct charge related to his shooting a friend in Gwinnett County.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill entered the plea under the state’s first-offender statute and was ordered to serve 12 months on probation and pay a $1,000 fine, according to a news release from the Gwinnett County district attorney’s office.
Feral cats in Columbus drew 200 people to a Columbus City Council meeting Tuesday.
About 200 people, most of them apparently cat lovers, packed Columbus Council chambers Tuesday to hear a defense of the city’s Trap, Neuter, Release feral cat colony program, in the wake of recent criticism from members of council.
At a recent council meeting, Councilors Pops Barnes and Glenn Davis criticized the program, which authorizes approved “managers” to take care of colonies of feral cats. The cats are caught, spayed or neutered, examined, vaccinated and released back into the colony. Diseased cats are euthanized.
The program, which was started here in 2013, has come under fire recently because of roaming cat problems in the Sears Woods neighborhood. Neighbors there have complained about roaming cats using their yards as bathrooms and tearing up flower beds, among other nuisances.
At Tuesday’s meeting, several supporters of TNR defended it, saying it is a humane way to control cat population and does not pose a threat to public health.