The blog.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 30, 2016


Peaches is a male Pug and Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from BarkTown Dog Rescue and Sanctuary in Jasper, GA.

Peaches is approximately a year old. He is medium energy – loves other dogs – well behaved – walks very well on a leash – house trained and crate trained. He is basically ready to join your family!


Pippa is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from BarkTown Dog Rescue and Sanctuary in Jasper, GA.

Hi, I’m Pippa. My foster mom says my best features are my very sweet eyes. I have learned a lot with my foster mom. I am fully house trained and have learned to snuggle up and rest in my crate overnight and during the day when everyone is at work.

I am extremely playful and love to play with other dogs. I would be just as content as your only dog if you don’t already have dogs, but would also enjoy a home with other dog friends.

Notes from foster mom: She is not in a home with cats or kids, so Pippa has not been tested for cats or kid compatibility. She is extremely playful, full of energy and will need an owner willing to give her the amount of exercise she needs. Once she has been exercised her energy level decreases and she is ready to cuddle. Her favorite game is fetch and she loves long hikes and runs.


George Allen is a male Rhodesian Ridgeback and Shar Pei mix who is available for adoption from BarkTown Dog Rescue and Sanctuary in Jasper, GA.

George Allen is a very sweet middle aged gentleman who enjoys exploring out his fenced yard and playing with other dogs. George is a big guy but his calm and laid back mannerisms make him the perfect size for any home/family. George Allen walks nicely on a leash and is happy to go in his crate with a soft blanket. This handsome boy is most deserving of a wonderful home to enjoy his golden years.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 30, 2016

On November 30, 1782, British and American signed a preliminary treaty in Paris to end the American Revolution, which included withdrawal of British troops and recognition of American independence.

On November 30, 1819, the SS Savannah returned to Savannah, GA from its trip as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Congressman Tom Price was announced as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In choosing Representative Tom Price of Georgia to be his health secretary, President-elect Donald J. Trump has signaled an undiminished determination to repeal President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with a health law that would be far less comprehensive.

And Mr. Trump is handing Republicans and their base voters what they have clamored for since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010 — a powerful force to reverse course.

Mr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon from Atlanta’s affluent northern suburbs, was one of the first lawmakers to draft a full replacement for the Affordable Care Act. His proposal would take health care in a fundamentally different direction, away from mandated coverage and care and toward a free-market approach, with fewer consumer protections and more freedoms for doctors.

“The president-elect has made it very clear: He wants the Congress, when they convene in early January, to take up the task of repealing and replacing Obamacare first,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Tuesday on Fox News. He described Mr. Price as “someone who literally, for the last half a dozen years, has been in the forefront of efforts, not only to repeal Obamacare, but put forward common sense, free-market solutions that will lower the cost of health insurance, without growing the size of government.”

Mr. Trump said Tuesday that he had chosen Seema Verma, a health policy expert in Indiana, to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Working in state government and then as president of a consulting company, she helped Indiana expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, with conservative policies that emphasized “personal responsibility.”

Ms. Verma worked closely with Mr. Pence, the Indiana governor, who honored her this year with a Sagamore of the Wabash award, for Hoosiers who have made outstanding contributions to the state. She has won praise from health care providers and state legislators of both parties in Indiana, and has provided technical assistance to Medicaid officials in other states.

In his campaign manifesto, Mr. Trump said Congress should give each state a lump sum of federal money — a block grant — for Medicaid, the program for lower-income people. Regardless of whether they can achieve that goal, Mr. Price and Ms. Verma would almost surely make it easier for states to obtain Medicaid waivers, the vehicle for a wide range of state innovations and experiments, which could include new eligibility rules and cost-sharing requirements.

Senator Johnny Isakson praised Trump’s choice of Price for HHS.

“Tom Price is a true leader in Congress and an exceptional choice to head up the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With his background as a practicing physician, Tom will bring real world experience and a single-minded focus on the needs of patients to this vital role. I fully support his nomination and am confident that he will put the department back to work for the American people.”

“Tom doesn’t just talk about replacing Obamacare — he’s put years of thought and hard work into developing a plan that can actually make health care more affordable and accessible. By nominating Tom to fill this post, President-elect Trump is signaling his commitment to repealing Obamacare. With Tom at the helm, we can begin implementing free-market principles that will increase choice and lower the cost of health care for families and businesses.”

“I congratulate my good friend and a great Georgian, Tom Price.”

Senator David Perdue also had kind words for Price’s appointment.

“Tom is a fellow Georgian who understands that we need to stop Washington’s takeover of our health care system. As a doctor, he is seen as a leading voice on health care policy and has a common-sense plan to replace Obamacare that will lower costs and put patients in charge of their health care choices. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Tom, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will do a fantastic job improving our nation’s health care system and the lives of all Americans.”

Dr. Louis Sullivan was the last Georgian to serve in a presidential cabinet, having served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993. At least he served more recently than any of the reader submissions. Sullivan was also the last physician appointed to head HHS.

State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell), also a physician, had a few words to share about her husband’s appointment.

The Marietta Daily Journal looks at what will happen once Price is confirmed.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 29, 2016


Potomac is a young male Redbone Coonhound Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Alpharetta, GA.


Tomas is a young male Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Alpharetta, GA.


Price is an adult male Labrador Retriever & American Bulldog Mix who is available for adoption from Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society in Vidalia, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 29, 2016

Georgia ratified the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 29, 1794, which reads,

The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution to partition Palestine and allow the creation of a Jewish state of Israel.

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, referred to as the Warren Commission. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. of Georgia was appointed to the Commission.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Flags at the Georgia State Capitol will fly at half-staff today under an Executive Order by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Gov. Nathan Deal has issued an executive order that the American flag and Georgia state flag be flown at half-staff on the state capital building and grounds through sunset on Tuesday to honor U.S. Marshal Patrick Carothers.

Deal’s order said it was a mark of respect and honor for the sacrifices Carothers and others in the law enforcement community make to put their lives on the line every day.

Tom flag

Georgia Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) is expected to be named today as Secretary of Health & Human Services under the incoming Trump administration.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 28, 2016

Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, Georgia specializes in rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming German Shepherd Dogs.

They’re holding two fantastic fundraisers this week.

This Wednesday night is Cocktails with the Clydesdales, featuring the famed Budweiser Clydesdales.

Join us at an intimate gathering with the world famous Anheuser Busch Clydesdales! Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres as you watch this majestic hitch at a rare private viewing event. Stable tours, silent auction, photos with hitch and horses, enjoy the beautiful sunset. Limited tickets and sponsorships available. $150per person or $250 couple.

On Sunday, December 4, 2016, you can join them for Christmas with the Clydesdales,

Join us for a fun filled afternoon with the world famous Anheuser Busch Clydesdale horses at beautiful Big Sky Farm. The farm will be all decked out for the holidays and Santa will be on site! Avoid lines at the mall and have your Santa pictures done with us! Admission is $10 per adult, $5 12 and under. For $20 you will receive a 4″ x 6″ image and a link to download your digital image. Drinks and snacks will be available for a nominal charge. All proceeds benefit Canine Pet Rescue in our mission to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome dogs in need.

Canine Pet Rescue

Bennett is a 3-4 year old male German Shepherd Dog who is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, GA.

Bennett is around 3 or 4 years old and is the victim of neglect. His prior owner has criminal charges pending, as  Bennett was found starving in a backyard with no food or water.  He is approximately 40 pounds underweight, and is receiving treatment for skin conditions and heartworms. Bennett is a SUPER sweet boy, and a BIG boy too ! He is good with other dogs.   We don’t recommend him for a home with children as he currently takes food very quickly and little fingers could get in the way.  But who can blame a guy in this condition.


Shadow is a 2-year old male German Shepherd Dog who is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, GA.

He is so sweet with people, knows some basic commands, walks great on a leash and is very responsive to training, even from an older child.  Unfortunately, his owner had to give him up, so he’s looking for a new best friend.  Shadow gives us hugs and kisses whenever we go into his kennel to take him for a walk.  What a good boy!  He is about 2 years old, so still has some growing to do. He’s such a beautiful boy, inside and out and will make some lucky family a fabulous forever best friend.  Are you looking for a black German shepherd?  If so, you should definitely come meet Shadow!

Canine Pet Rescue

Parker is a young female German Shepherd Dog who is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, GA.

Parker loves to play with other male dogs her size. She is just too rough for the little guys.  Parker will play nicely with another older and very stable large male dog.  She is not good with younger dogs or dogs smaller than her.  She would prefer to be an only dog.  Parker is a jumper and can get over a 6 foot fence. She cannot be adopted to a home where she will be left outside alone for any period of time. But with a girl this sweet, who would do that ?  :)




Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 28, 2016

On November 28, 1777, Congress appointed John Adams as commissioner to France, replacing Silas Deane.

The Grand Ole Opry began live radio broadcasts from Nashville, Tennessee on November 28, 1925.

The Tawana Brawley case began on November 28, 1987; the greatest lasting impact would be the rise to celebrity of community activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States Marshal Service Deputy Commander Patrick Carothers was honored at a funeral service in Gwinnett County this weekend.

Patrick Carothers, 53, was killed in Long County when he tried to serve a warrant for fugitive Dontrell Montese Carter’s arrest. Carother’s team was entering a single-wide trailer where they’d found Carter hiding when Carother was shot twice.

A little over a week later, a funeral procession guided his body from Flanigan’s Funeral Home in Buford to the Norcross school where his wife Terry teaches. It’s the same school three of his five children graduated. Two more are still enrolled.

GAC President David Fincher said Patrick brought his positive attitude and leadership skill into the school family.

“He was remembered as the calm in the middle of every storm,” [United States Deputy Attorney General Sally] Yates said. “He was famous for saying, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.’”

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was one of those in attendance who never met Patrick, but said she felt she knew him after talking to those who had worked with him. She said he had taken up the challenge “to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.”

“He pledged his energy, his talent and if necessary, his life to the well-being of the U.S. people,” Lynch said. “It was keeping that pledge until his last breath that made him a hero.”

Patrick Carothers recieved a hero’s send-off Saturday. His family members were presented with folded American flags as a thanks for his service before the fallen deputy’s casket was carried off on a horse-drawn carriage.

Medical cannabis supporters say that passage of measures in eight states to allow in-state growing or production of medical cannabis ratchets up the pressure for similar legislation in Georgia.

“We were obviously encouraged by all the positive votes,” said Shannon Cloud. She and her husband, Blaine Cloud, are two of Georgia’s most vocal medical cannabis activists. Their 11-year-old daughter, Alaina, has taken a liquid made with cannabis to treat the symptoms of a rare seizure disorder.

“The fact that Florida passed medical was a huge win. We’re not that different from Florida. We are hopeful that we could get it on the ballot here in 2018,” Shannon Cloud said.

What Florida passed is the licensed cultivation, manufacture and sale of cannabis products to Florida patients who have a medical marijuana card.

But in Georgia, unlike Florida, the question of medical marijuana cultivation must go through the state Legislature before a public vote. In Florida, supporters bypassed the state Legislature, instead collecting nearly 700,000 signatures to put the question on the ballot.

The Macon restaurateur who sponsored the bill that created Georgia’s medical cannabis registry said nationwide momentum and poll results favor medical cannabis.

“It’s coming. It’s now in 29 states, after Election Day, that have full-blown medical marijuana programs. It’s coming to Georgia at some point,” said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, counting medical-only cannabis states such as Florida, plus places like Colorado that allow recreational marijuana too.

Representative Allen Peake also appeared in a brief video by McClatchy news discussing the issue.

Atlanta area mom Katie McCoy will be among those pushing for greater availability in Georgia.

McKoy was in the hospital with one of her sons when the legislature shot down a bill that would have given everyone prescribed cannabis oil legal access.

“I got to see the bill fail from the ICU bed,” she said.

Currently, in state cultivation is also illegal. So someone with a medical marijuana license can possess it in Georgia, but they can’t buy it here.

McKoy said the restrictions place a cruel burden on families who are already suffering so much.

“Why is my child more worthy of a medication even though there are other children who are equally in pain and equally suffering,” she said.

State Rep. Alan Peake said they’re working with the governor’s office right now to expand the list of approved illnesses.

He said they’re targeting autism, Tourette syndrome and chronic pain in 2017.

The Georgia CARE Project is pushing for de facto decriminalization on a city-by-city basis.

The campaign is based, in part, on a July decision by the city council in Clarkston, in metropolitan Atlanta’s DeKalb County, that reduced the city fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from as much as $1,000 to $75. The city’s new ordinance also eliminated the possibility of serving jail time for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

The new Clarkston ordinance does not eliminate the possibility that a person in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana could still be charged under state law, which classifies a violation as a misdemeanor. In Georgia, a misdemeanor conviction in punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Marijuana reform advocates in Athens have repeatedly pushed Athens-Clarke County’s mayor and commission to consider an arrangement like the Clarkston ordinance for Athens. That approach is dubbed a “parallel ordinance” in that the local, less punitive, law would exist in tandem with the state law. That would, proponents argue, give police officers some discretion in determining whether an individual violation merited the potential state misdemeanor punishment or could be handled much more simply, and with less consequence, through the issuance of a local citation.

In announcing the “City by City” campaign recently, James Bell, the director of the Georgia C.A.R.E. (Campaign for Access, Reform and Education) Project contended that “public opinions and attitudes have changed in Georgia and the nation” with regard to marijuana laws.

Bell also tied the “City by City” effort to Georgia C.A.R.E.’s initiative to influence state law on marijuana. That initiative, the “40 Days” campaign, aims to have a representative of Georgia C.A.R.E. lobbying state lawmakers for every one of the 40 days the state legislature is in session next year, beginning on the second Monday in January.

Colorado, whose voters legalized recreational marijuana, is seeing more cases of driving under the influence of marijuana.

[WSB-TV's Justin] Farmer rode along with Cpl. Roger Meyers, a Colorado State Patrol officer who has been trained as a drug recognition expert.

Meyers said when he suspects someone is driving while impaired by marijuana, he starts a conversation with the person.

“How much cannabis have you smoked tonight or how much cannabis have you used tonight?” Meyers said he asks the person.

An estimated 12.4 percent of the deadly crashes in Colorado in 2015 involved a driver who tested positive for cannabis. That’s up 8.1 percent since 2013, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Police in Georgia do not have a roadside breath test for drugs, as they do for alcohol.

The Colorado State Patrol is running a pilot program with marijuana DUI devices that test saliva. But there are concerns about those devices.

The Chatham County Narcotics Team found ten pounds of marijuana believed to have originated in a state with legalized recreational marijuana.

In one of the largest busts tied back to Colorado marijuana, $200,000 worth of marijuana is off the streets of Savannah after a huge bust in Port Wentworth.

Here’s what’s interesting about the drugs seized Thursday—they started off perfectly legal. The growing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana is bumping up the supply in states that haven’t—like Georgia.

CNT agents said they’re targeting those who go to the states where the drug is legal to buy it and then come back here to sell it. They said they have one of the biggest dealers in Chatham County now behind bars.

“There is no doubt that they know what they’re doing is illegal. They’re going to a state where it is legal to buy it in large amounts and then bring it back to Chatham County for the purpose of distributing it,” said Sergeant Gene Harley with the Chatham Narcotics Team.

This makes at least five busts tied back to a legal purchase of marijuana in other states. Now with eight states and D.C. allowing the recreational use of the drug, that number might keep climbing.

“Number 1, it’s simply illegal in the state of Georgia, and number 2, despite what a lot of people may think, violent crime is regularly associated with marijuana,” said Sgt. Harley. “We hope that this is a lesson to anyone who may think about taking their place, that CNT is out and about, and we simply will not tolerate it.”

Firearm manufacturer Daniel Defense will break ground today for a new 250,000 square foot facility in Ellabell, Georgia.

“We’re excited about physically breaking ground on our new facility, as it will play a big role in helping us increase efficiencies in manufacturing and day-to-day operations, which is good for the company and our customers,” said Daniel Defense president/CEO Marty Daniel.

“It also represents the creation of many new jobs and overall growth for the company—which is good for Bryan County and the local economy.”

Daniel Defense has been located in Bryan County since 2009, when the company moved operations from Chatham County.

Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election is causing some women to consider running for office themselves, according to the Washington Post.

Among young, liberal women who expected to see the country elect its first female president Nov. 8,…. many are responding to Hillary Clinton’s defeat with a new sense of obligation to seek political power. After years of never imagining a career in the public eye or only vaguely entertaining the idea of working in politics, these women are determined to run for elected office.

They don’t speak for all women, many of whom voted for Trump – 42 percent of them, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research. Notably, a majority of white women favored the Republican. But Clinton still benefited from an overall gender gap, and young women supported her by a margin of 32 percentage points.

For many of those rooting for Clinton to break the glass ceiling her campaign repeatedly invoked, her loss, painful as it was, could be an even greater mobilizing force than a victory might have been.

Michele L. Swers, a professor of government at Georgetown University who specializes in gender and policymaking, said this response has historical precedent.

In the early 1990s, televised hearings brought the Senate debate over the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court into living rooms across the country. The all-male Judiciary Committee’s treatment of Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment, helped motivate women to run for office, Swers said. In 1992, four successfully ran for the U.S. Senate, increasing the number of women in that body threefold. They were Patty Murray of Washington, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, all Democrats. Their electoral success branded 1992 the “Year of the Woman.”

You had people who decided they didn’t like what they saw,” Swers said. “In general in politics, anger is a very motivating factor.”

Swers said this year’s election may be another pivotal consciousness-raising event for women “deciding the only way to change things is to get into the halls of power.”

House Bill 202 from 2015 may help some property taxpayers in disputes with their local government, according to the AJC.

One provision, for example, provides that taxpayers won’t be charged interest on the unpaid balance of their property taxes while an appeal is pending. As it stands now, taxpayers have to pay interest if the final value shows more taxes are due.

Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, one of the sponsors, speaks from experience on this provision, having been billed $11.13 in interest on his tax bill. “The taxpayer had no ability to impact the time it would take…to reach the conclusion,” Harrell said. “For me, $11.13 was not a significant amount of money, but it was the principle of the thing. I had no control.”

Early voting begins today in the December 6 runoff election for Muscogee County Sheriff.

Monday is the first day of early voting for the Dec. 6 Muscogee County Sheriff’s runoff between incumbent John Darr and Donna Tompkins.

Voters can cast ballots FROM 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday in the community room of the Citizens Service Center, 3111 Citizens Way, off Macon Road by the Columbus Public Library.

The service center’s public access off Rigdon Road at Midtown Drive is more convenient because visitors must enter through the rear of the building by the parking garage, as the front doors remain locked for security.

Each voter must show a government-issued photo ID to prove identity and residence.

Anyone registered to vote by the Oct. 11 deadline for the General Election is eligible to vote in the runoff. They do not have to have voted in the Nov. 8 election.

Residents with online access can check their voter registration status at Georgia’s “My Voter Page.” Others may call the elections office at 706-653-4392.

Berrien County voters will also choose a sheriff in a December 6 runoff.

Interim Sheriff Ray Paulk won a special election to finish the current term, but he’s in a runoff to win a new term as Berrien County’s Sheriff.

“A candidate must have 50 percent plus one of the votes to take the election,” said Melanie Ray, Elections Supervisor.

In the general election vote, Paulk pulled in just under 49 percent of the vote in a four-man race. “Ray Paulk and Frank Swanson took the top two percentages. So they will both be in a runoff,” said Ray.

Paulk and Swanson will face off in December to see who will serve a full term as Berrien County Sheriff. “In the end, I was banking on a runoff and that’s what we were dealt with” said Swanson.

DeKalb County “Super” District 7 voters will choose between two candidates for County Commission in a runoff election.

Voters will decide between Greg Adams, an Emory University police officer, and Randal Mangham, an attorney, in the Dec. 6 runoff for Super District 7. They received the most votes out of nine candidates in the Nov. 8 general election. The winner of the race will represent 350,000 people in the eastern half of the county, from Doraville to Stonecrest.

Dozens of officials and employees have been found guilty of crimes over the past few years, including DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis and former Commissioner Elaine Boyer.

“I really don’t believe we have a (corruption) problem to that end at this point,” Adams said. “We just need to focus on moving forward. I will focus on being transparent and accountable for my actions.”

Mangham, who himself has been criticized over his failure to file financial disclosures on time, also said the county should move on from allegations of official wrongdoing.

“We’ve been through some stormy times in DeKalb County, and it’s time to turn a new leaf,” Mangham said. “It’s time to put some of that in the past.”


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for November 23, 2016


Number 53569 is a male Chihuahua mix who will be available for adoption beginning on November 26, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 53569 is a female Chihuahua mix who will be available for adoption beginning on November 26, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 53586, “Taco,” is a young male Labrador Retriever who will be available for adoption beginning on November 26, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 53534 is a friendly male Dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier mix who will be available for adoption beginning on November 25, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 23, 2016

President George Washington declared November 26, 1789 the first “public day of thanksgiving and prayer.”

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington


On November 23, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman himself entered Milledgeville, where used the Governor’s Mansion as his headquarters. Sherman’s forces left the capitol city on November 24th.

On November 25, 1864, Sherman’s 14th and 20th Corps moved toward Sandersville while the 17th Corps fought briefly against a mix of Kentucky Militia, Georgia Military Institute cadets, and Georgia convicts.

On November 27, 1864, Sherman ordered the courthouse in Sandersville, Georgia burned.

On November 25, 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel filed a patent for dynamite. On November 25, 1895, Nobel wrote his will, leaving the equivalent of roughly $186 million (2008 dollars) to endow the Nobel prizes.

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Fourth Thursday in November as the modern Thanksgiving celebration.

[I]t was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

On the same day, a Japanese navy fleet left port headed toward Pearl Harbor.

President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

Construction on the Georgia Dome began on November 24, 1989.

On November 24, 1992, Republican Paul D. Coverdell defeated Democratic incumbent Wyche Fowler in the runoff election for United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voter turnout reached a new record, with more than 76% of registered voters making it to the polls for the November 2016 General Election.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced the final results Tuesday. His office had previously predicted turnout in the Nov. 8 general election would break a state record for votes cast in an election.

The turnout numbers were even higher in Hall County, where 78.5 percent of voters cast ballots, a total of 71,396 out of the 90,878 people registered.

Kemp says more than 4.1 million people voted early or on Election Day this year statewide out of 5.4 million active registered voters.

The record previously was more than 3.9 million votes during the 2008 fall elections.

“I am thrilled to see Georgian’s enthusiasm this cycle,” Kemp said. “Voters turned out in record numbers for the (March) SEC Primary, and that trend has continued all year long.”

Forsyth County voters turned out at more than 80% in the General Election.

More than 80 percent of registered Forsyth County voters turned out Nov. 8, voting to extend an education sales tax and pass a revision to the county’s homestead exemption.

The education sales tax passed with 63 percent of the vote. It establishes a one-cent sales tax for education that runs five years or until the cap of $195 million is reached. By law, special purpose local sales taxes imposed for schools can only be used for capital projects and to make payments on bonds. Forsyth County voters approved similar referendums in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011, with the current SPLOST expiring in June 2017.

The second major ballot issue was a senior homestead exemption which would reduce a property owner’s eligibility for school tax exemptions. Forsyth voters approved this measure with 60 percent in in favor.

In 2001, Forsyth voters approved a 100 percent senior, or age 65 and up, homestead exemption for school taxes. Since that time, Forsyth County’s population has grown from 98,407 to 212,500, and school enrollment has increased from 17,249 to 46,061. In 2015, senior exemptions amounted to over $19 million in lost revenue.

In the presidential election, Republican Donald Trump garnered 71 percent of the votes, while Democrat Hillary Clinton received 24 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson took 4 percent.

On the local level, incumbents District Attorney for the Bell-Forsyth Circuit Penny Penn, Probate Judge Lynwood Jordan, Superior Court Clerk Greg Allen, Tax Commissioner Matthew Ledbetter, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, Board of Education District 3 representative Tom Cleveland and Board of Education District 4 representative Darla Light all won their spots with 100 percent of votes.

Some new faces will be joining the county including Ron Freeman as sheriff, Lauren McDonald as coroner, Rick Swope as District 2 County Commissioner and Laura Smanson as District 5 County Commissioner.

The Board of Education District 5 seat was up for grabs, but incumbent Nancy Roche held onto that seat with 79 percent of votes.

Incoming Department of Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry announced leadership changes that will become effective when he takes the lead at the agency.

Joseph W. Hood III, Andrew Johnson, and Kate Pfirman will serve as Deputy Commissioners, and Lisa Walker will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer.

“As I plan for my role as Commissioner of the Department of Community Health (DCH), I am pleased to announce the addition of several executives to the DCH leadership team,” said Berry. “The combined experience and knowledge-base of this team will be an asset to accomplishing the agency’s mission.”

Joseph W. Hood III serves as the Division Director of Public Safety at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. Prior to his current position, he served as Comptroller for the Georgia Department of Public Safety. He was a staff member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for more than 10 years, serving as the Grants Division Director for five years. He also served as an auditor with the Georgia Department of Human Resources and as Finance Director at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. Hood earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.

Andrew Johnson is currently Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities where he has served for four years. Prior to his service to the state, he worked with the office of Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D., for five years, as well as in the private sector as a mortgage banker.  Mr. Johnson studied Political Science at Kennesaw State University.

Kate Pfirman has been with the state over 20 years. She currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Public Health and has held a variety of roles including Division Director at the Governor’s Office of Planning (OPB), and Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Human Resources (DHR). Pfirman received her Bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University and her Master’s degree in accounting from The American University in Washington, D.C.

Lisa Walker is currently the Division Director of Health and Human Services for the Office of Planning and Budget. She has worked in multiple state agencies during her 20 years of public service with the State of Georgia. She serves on the Board of Georgia Health Information Network. Walker earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance from Georgia State University and also holds a MBA with a concentration in finance.

The Fayette County Republican Party is considering putting together a bus trip to Washington for the Inaurgual, to leave on January 19 and return January 22, 2017. If you’re interested, get in touch with the county party’s leadership.

State Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) will introduce legislation outlawing “upskirting” after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the existing statute.

“It’s something we all recognize as unacceptable behavior,” said state Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, sponsor of House Bill 9.

But this year, a Georgia court reversed the conviction of a man for one count of criminal invasion of privacy for what’s called “upskirting.” That man, Brandon Lee Gary, admitted to police about three years ago that he had secretly snapped cellphone videos up the skirt of a woman shopping at the Perry Parkway Publix, where he then worked. He was pretending to tie his shoes.

But the Georgia Court of Appeals said that, technically, Georgia laws guaranteeing privacy don’t apply to the space under peoples’ clothes.

“All this (bill) does is patch that up, allow this to be deemed criminal behavior,” Blackmon said.

GPB News takes a look at wildfire-fighting operations in North Georgia.

“It was bad last night when it was flaming up real high,” [Dolores] Duncan said from her back porch the following morning. “First, it was coming down the mountain over there–you could see it coming down the mountain–so we went down to see how bad it was. I guess it was about 50 feet from the bottom when we went down, and that was before dark.”

As night fell, the fire moved up the hill, threatening Duncan’s home. That’s when rangers from the Georgia Forestry Commission arrived on the scene.

They worked through the night and stopped the flames about 100 feet from Duncan’s back door. The next day, their work continued.

Once a fire is contained within fire breaks bulldozers have plowed through the trees, rangers have to make sure it’s actually out: work known as “mopping up.”

“The duff layer out here–the actual leaves and the pine straw–are so thick that it’s not just burning on the surface. It’s actually burning underneath,” Evans explained. “So, we’re having to remove some of that fuel to get to the real heat, which is under the ground. We use different hand tools, try to put some water on it, and just at least cool it off so it won’t restart.”

“You know, we’ve got a lot of folks up here that’s going to miss Thanksgiving at home, but it’s part of the life,” said Byron Haire, who works for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Armstrong State University inked a research agreement with the United States Army to study injury prevention.

Health care spending is up in Georgia, partly because of increasing costs for prescription drugs.

In Georgia, average per capita spending was slightly above the national average, at $5,194, and average out-of-pocket spending per capita was $942, significantly higher than nationally.

Spending in Georgia, though, was less than the average for the South, which, at $5,240 per capita, was the second-highest-spending region.

Spending on prescription drugs grew faster than spending on any other health care service. In 2015, $649 per capita was spent on brand prescriptions, an increase of 11.4 percent from the previous year.

The average price per dose on brand-name drugs almost doubled from 2012 to 2015, Frost told []. Those increases were especially high for “anti-infective’’ drugs that treat conditions such as HIV and Hepatitis C.

“The only place we’re not seeing price increases is with generic prescriptions,’’ Frost told GHN.

David Howard, an Emory University health policy expert, when asked to comment on the report, said that “it’s striking how much of the spending increases is related to prices.”

He said a key factor could be the rampant consolidation of hospitals systems and physicians, sparked by changes in reimbursements from insurers and government programs looking to emphasize quality of care.  Bigger health systems, experts say, are able to pursue cost savings and also negotiate better pricing from insurers, an industry that’s also seeking to consolidate.

The payment changes were driven by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and repeal of the law, which Republicans have promised since their recent electoral victories, could ease the pressure of medical providers to merge, Howard said.

Camden County Commission Chair Jimmy Starline spoke about creating a technology corridor in Coastal Georgia.

Starline said the county’s strengths in coming years will be Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, sports tourism and a proposed spaceport.

While launching spacecraft is an important part of the county’s long-term plans, it is the support companies that have potential to have the biggest impact to the county, he said.

“The technology corridor is what we’re really after,” Starline said. “We have a real opportunity for a nice lifestyle here.”

He discussed the agreements between the cities and county such as mutual aid for fire protection, a shared health care clinic and a new pact with St. Marys to lower flood insurance rates as examples of positive changes locally.

Cobb County Commissioners will consider allowing open alcohol containers in and near the new Braves stadium.

Cobb commissioners at their work session Tuesday afternoon were presented with a draft plan that would designate the open container areas within and near SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta, its adjoining mixed-use development. Under the proposed plan, which could receive commissioner approval next month, The Battery would be designated as an open container area where alcohol could be consumed outside as well as sold by properly licensed vendors.

Dana Johnson, the county’s community development director, said similar areas have been designated within the Cobb cities of Acworth and Smyrna, as well as other metro Atlanta cities, and within special event areas such as Six Flags Over Georgia in Cobb, the Avalon mixed-use development in Alpharetta and Atlantic Station.“This is not a new concept,” Johnson said. “This is something that has been done and managed appropriately throughout Cobb County and throughout metro Atlanta, and this is something we think will be a very big benefit to the visitors and the public as they come to enjoy a great ballgame.”

LaGrange City Council is considering changes to its sign ordinance.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for November 22, 2016

Dolly Parton is a young female adult Treeing Walker Coonhound who is available for adoption from BARC Brantley Animal Rescue Coalition in Nahunta, GA.

My name is Dolly Parton and I am a Treeing Walker Coonhound. I am young, about a year old, and am a very well behaved girl. I do very nicely with other dogs and cats. I am also use to ignoring horses at the farm where I am being fostered. I like the quiet farm life and am a gentle and loving girl. However, I do not like loud noises and will hide or run if you slam a door or yell.

Dolly Girl is a female Dachshund who is available for adoption from DREAM Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

Dolly Girl is a standard doxie girl who is about 4 years old. Dolly does not care for other dogs in her space so would like to be in an only dog family. And no cats please! Cats are the bane of Dolly’s existence!

Dolly Girl doesn’t mind chilling out in her crate while her people are at work. A couple of toys, a stuffed Kong and a tv or radiio for company and she is totally content. When her folks get home, she wants to play fetch and run off some energy before settling down for some relaxation time with them.

Dolly is a young female English Bulldog & Staffordshire Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pregnant Dog Rescue, Inc. in Griffin, GA.

Dolly is a typical puppy – happy, playful, and loving.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 22, 2016

The only major battle on Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred at Griswoldsville on November 22, 1864; on the same day, federal troops marched into Milledgeville.

President John F. Kennedy became the fourth President of the United States to be assassinated in office on November 22, 1963. The next day, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been arrested for shooting Kennedy.

On November 22, 1988, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was first unveiled publicly at Palmdale, California.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Ports Authority continues to set records for container traffic, according to

In fact, the port set an all-time GPA record for the month October, even after being completely shut down for several days during the height of Hurricane Matthew.

Of all the ports affected by Matthew, the Port of Savannah was hit the hardest, according to U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Amy Beach, commander of Marine Safety Unit Savannah and Captain of the Port. Because the full force of the storm struck Savannah’s outer harbor, aids to navigation were severely compromised and had to be restored before the port could be safely reopened.

With all that in play, the numbers surprised even GPA executive director Griff Lynch, who told his board Monday that the port handled more than a quarter-million loaded TEUs – or 20-foot containers – last month to set an all-time GPA record for October.

Governor Nathan Deal may parlay an appointment to Richmond County Superior Court into a second knock-on appointment.

One of the lawyers whose name was submitted for consideration to the Georgia Judicial Nomination Committee is District Attorney Ashley Wright, who was re-elected to a new four-year term Nov. 8. If Wright submits an application by Tuesday and the governor selects her to fill Roper’s term, her job as the top prosecutor for Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties becomes open.

Because Wright would be vacating the district attorney’s seat early in her term, the governor would appoint a local lawyer to to fill the vacancy, but that person would have to run in a special election in the next general election.

After the Judicial Nomination Committee receives the applications this week, the members will conduct interviews with the candidates in December and then narrow the list to up to five names to submit to the governor for his consideration.

Roper intends to leave office Feb. 5.

Low-income residents of Middle Georgia may get assistance in dealing with the complexities of healthcare.

Navicent Health, in partnership with Mercer University law school and Georgia Legal Services Program, is opening a MedLaw office at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, 777 Hemlock St., according to a news release. A ribbon cutting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29 at the new office.

The MedLaw office will offer a team of legal, social and medical workers who will provide free civil legal services to qualified Navicent Health patients. The patients it will serve would be those “whose, treatment or recovery is impeded by a legal need directly related to the patient’s health, when the patient has attempted to remedy the situation but has received an adverse response,” the release said.

MedLaw services will be available 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. To schedule a consultation, patients should call 478-633-8108.

Floyd Jones will serve as the new Fayette County Elections Supervisor.

The City of Tyrone has finalized the project list for a SPLOST election to be held next year, likely in March 2017.

Douglas County Commissioners continue to work on a 2017 budget that has become “tight” due to higher healthcare costs and lower ad valorem tax collections.

Political graffiti targeting President-elect Trump is becoming a problem in Douglas County.

As of early this week, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had received reports of six such incidents since the election, and the Douglasville Police Department had received one report.

In one instance, anti-Trump profanity was spray painted on a stop sign at the intersection of Campbellton Street and Hospital Drive near Douglas County High School, referencing President-Elect Donald Trump. A similar message was painted on the high school itself. The damage from both has since been repaired.

Another incident reported to the Sentinel involved profane anti-Trump messaging spray painted on a garage door in the Stewarts Mill subdivision.

The Newnan Times-Herald looks at how 2016′s events will affect state priorities in 2017.

First is the Trump plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, which eliminates any impetus for the Peach State to consider expanding Medicaid. Until the new Trump proposal is passed by Congress, all state-level health policy discussions will be silenced, including a vague plan pushed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for a sort of streamlined version of Medicaid expansion that legislative leaders were lukewarm about anyway.

Other state actions required to cope with regulations pushed by the Obama administration are also on hold, such as Georgia’s response to the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the U.S. Plenty of time and energy has been expended by bureaucrats and lobbyists on these types of state rules to implement federal regulations, so now they’ll have free time for other issues.

One other source of shudders on Election Day was the change of suburban Atlanta counties from red to blue, like Cobb, Henry, Douglas, Gwinnett and Newton, in a year when the Republican nominee beat the Democratic standard bearer by 5 percent in the overall state. Demographic trends foreshadowed the shift, but many observers thought they wouldn’t formally flip until the next presidential election.

What all this means is that conservative leaders have to be smarter. They can’t count on automatic passage of their every proposal any more. Timing contentious referenda will have to be strategic. And they will have to do a better job of convincing voters in the newly blue areas rather than just taking their agreement for granted.

Education funding will be an important and contentious issue in the 2017 General Assembly.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said funding for K-12 school remains an issue, even though most of the previous cuts have been restored. Legislation to change the distribution formula died last year, but he expects it to be resubmitted.

“I’m going to watch that pretty closely,” Hufstetler said. “It shifted funds around from county to county, but I didn’t feel it was a good thing for our schools. I want to make sure our schools come out OK on a new formula.”

Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, said it’s likely that some sort of school reform will be “on the menu” in 2017.

“I don’t know if we’ll come back to opportunity schools, but every year somebody is filing a bill to make school choice more robust and I expect to see that again,” he said.

Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said she is focused on mental health and early intervention — catching it and starting treatment before the age of 5, if possible.

She met last week to go over priorities with officials from the Division of Family and Children Services and from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

“I’m also looking at our aging population, so both ends of the spectrum,” she said. “One of the great concerns of the Council on Aging this year is transportation — helping those who are older and on fixed incomes get to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, keeping them active and healthy as long as possible,”

First Lady Sandra Deal will be the namesake of a new Youth and Learning Center at Jekyll Island.

The board of the Jekyll Island Authority said it would name the auditorium, classrooms and labs at the Jekyll Island Youth and Learning Center after the former classroom teacher.

The new facility sits on what was once the Jekyll 4-H Center, which closed two years ago so the former motel, dining hall and education buildings could be demolished to clear the way for the new center. At the time, 4-H had just passed the 1 million mark in the number of students who had gone through its environmental education program.

Hoteliers expect to see religious liberty legislation on the slate for the 2017 session.

“I’ve not heard of any specific bills that are coming back forward, but my assumption is that we will see it be broken up into smaller issues,” said state Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming.) “To that point, it allows more information to be given out based on specific issues.”

Ron Tarson, general manager of the Westin at Peachtree Plaza and chairman of government affairs with Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association, said he expects religious exemption legislation to be back next year.

Tarson said he doesn’t want Georgia to be like North Carolina, which passed HB2, a controversial bill that bars transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“We know there’s huge impact because we’ve gotten business from North Carolina, and we don’t want our business to go somewhere else,” Tarson said.

Fulton County is getting a new youth services center.

The nonprofit organization Youth Spark partnered with the Junior League of Atlanta Tuesday for a ribbon cutting at the new youth services center.

According to officials, the center will screen at-risk children and adolescents for signs of abuse or sexual exploitation as well connect them with helpful services provided by Amendment Two.

A Gainesville ministry seeking to build housing for women exploited in sex trafficking is finding local opposition.

A Gainesville ministry’s heavily opposed plans to build a campus housing women involved in sex trafficking goes before the Hall County Planning Commission Monday evening.

Straight Street Revolution Ministries is hoping to build the campus on 50 acres off Weaver Road, a hilly area off Poplar Springs Road in southeast Hall County.

Opponents have said they worry such a development would raise safety concerns and lower property values.

Several residents said they applauded the group’s work but they simply don’t believe such a development belongs in a residential neighborhood.

One of the chief worries has been that sex traffickers might try to hunt down women at the complex.