The blog.

20
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 20, 2016

foxtrot
Foxtrot is one of several Hound mix puppies who are available for adoption from Planned PEThood of Georgia in Duluth, GA.

I know someone out there is looking for a cuddle bug that will be your little shadow…. well that is our little Foxtrot. He loves to be held and will follow you everywhere you go. Foxtrot loves other dogs and is ok with the cats in his foster home too. He will make a great family pet as he will be big and sturdy enough for kids to play and roughhouse with.

We are taking applications now to pre-adopt Foxtrot. He should be ready to go home the weekend of September 24th.

griffith

Griffith is a male Boston Terrier & Chihuahua Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Planned PEThood of Georgia in Duluth, GA.

Griffith is one of 4 owner surrender very young puppies. Griffith is the calm cool and very huggable of the group. He loves to be held, will make a really great family/lap dog. Griffith is still in his foster home growing big and strong. He is ready for pre-adoption now! His adoption fee is 225.00

limbo

Limbo is a male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Planned PEThood of Georgia in Duluth, GA. I believe he comes from the same litter as Foxtrot.

Limbo’s mom was saved from a rural shelter when she was just about to have babies. The doctor estimated that she would have 8 pups, but she ended up having 13 gorgeous pups!

Sweet Limbo is a beautiful red hound boy with floppy ears and a great attitude. He is a bit smaller than some of his siblings, but doesn’t let that stop him from any activity they are doing!

Limbo is sweet and sensitive. He is the first pup to seek out his foster mom for reassurance and just a bit of extra love. He enjoys cuddles and kisses!

Mom was a foxhound, so we are assuming all the pups will be about her size at anywhere from 60 to 75 pounds, so he will need some space to be able to run around. Hounds need active families, so long walks where he can use his hound dog nose and trips to the lake would be great for this boy.

Limbo gets along with other dogs and doesn’t bother the cats in his foster home. Limbo will make a great family dog since he will be big enough to tumble and play with the kids.

20
Sep

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

On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

The first classes at Oglethorpe University under it’s current non-denominational charter were held on September 20, 1916. Happy 100th Anniversary to the Stormy Petrels. The university was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Midway, Georgia. In 1870, after a period of closure during the Civil War they relocated to the Atlanta area. Currently, a collection of more than 20,000 pieces of political campaign materials is on display at the Weltner Library on Oglethorpe’s campus.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

During the 1976 campaigns, a 13-foot tall smiling peanut sculpture was created by the Indiana Democratic Party for Carter’s presidential campaign.

Since 1976, the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut has held its position as the world’s second largest peanut, “the most photographed thing in Plains”, and one of the oddest monuments to a politician worldwide. Unfortunately, in 2000, a reckless driver crashed into the peanut, whose wooden hoops, chicken wire, and aluminum foil weren’t enough to keep it upright. After the accident, the peanut was moved from the Plains train depot to the Davis E-Z Shop in Plains, where it remains today. Although the peanut has been kept in pristine form, the fence surrounding it has become dilapidated as a result of over a decade of tourists posing for photos on it.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order to remind gasoline vendors that state law prohibits price gouging during a state of emergency.

“Due to a leak in a critical fuel pipeline in Alabama, which is currently undergoing repairs, Georgia and other states have experienced interruptions in motor fuel supply,” Deal said. “There have been recent reports that wholesale and retail gas prices have substantially increased in some markets. In order to remedy this, I’ve issued an executive order reiterating the state law prohibiting price gouging. In addition to this, I’ve sought and received a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency as well as lifted operating regulations for commercial truck drivers hauling motor fuel. I urge the public to maintain regular consumption levels and travel schedules in order to reduce further interruption in fuel supply.”

Georgia Code Section 10-1-393.4 reads in part:

(a) It shall be an unlawful, unfair, and deceptive trade practice for any person, firm, or corporation doing business in any area in which a state of emergency, as such term is defined in Code Section 38-3-3, has been declared, for so long as such state of emergency exists, to sell or offer for sale at retail any goods or services identified by the Governor in the declaration of the state of emergency necessary to preserve, protect, or sustain the life, health, or safety of persons or their property at a price higher than the price at which such goods were sold or offered for sale immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency; provided, however, that such price may be increased only in an amount which accurately reflects an increase in cost of the goods or services to the person selling the goods or services or an increase in the cost of transporting the goods or services into the area. [Emphasis added.]

Gov. Deal also attended the dedication of Coleman Middle School in Duluth, named in honor of State Rep. Brooks Coleman.

Coleman is named after Brooks Coleman, a former teacher and administrator in GCPS, and in his 12th term as a state representative in the Georgia legislature. It’s Gwinnett County Public Schools’ signature STEAM school, which means it focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. It’s on Main Street and in the same building as the former Duluth Middle School.

During his tenure in the legislature, Coleman has served on numerous committees and has chaired the Education Committee. His ties to the Duluth community run deep, including being the Voice of the Wildcats at Duluth High football games and his work with the Duluth Fall Festival.

Republican John Watson is considering a run for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, according to the AJC Political Insider.

Watson, a former chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue and adviser to Sen. David Perdue, said he is “taking a serious look at the race” to succeed John Padgett, who will not run for another term next year.

“I have had the opportunity to work alongside extraordinary people to help see Georgia go from blue to red,” said Watson. “And I don’t think that Republicans in the future can simply cross their fingers and hope for continued Republican dominance. That’s why I want to be involved in the future.”

Michael McNeely, who is now the party’s vice-chair, said earlier this month he was running for the top spot. Other possible contenders include former Cobb GOP chair Scott Johnson, state GOP treasurer Mansell McCord, ex-Congressional candidate Martha Zoller, tea party guru Julianne Thompson and DeKalb attorney Alex Johnson.

David Lightman of McClatchy News looks into the crosstabs of a poll by Monmouth University and finds a deeply polarized electorate in Georgia.

–Urban/elsewhere. Clinton’s up 20 in the greater Atlanta area. Trump’s up 18 in the rest of the state.

–Black voters. Clinton 88, Trump 4.

–White Voters. Trump 66, Clinton 20.

–White voters with no college degree. Trump 78, Clinton 10.

–White voters over 50. Trump 68, Clinton 23.

–White voters under 50. Trump 63, Clinton 16, Libertarian Gary Johnson 16.

“There has been some talk of Georgia becoming part of a demographic realignment in presidential politics. However, Clinton is not quite making the needed inroads among young white voters to take the lead here,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a news release.

The DeKalb County Board of Education voted to oppose the Opportunity School Board Amendment on the November ballot.

In DeKalb, 26 of the district’s schools are on the state’s list of those considered failing.

Board chairman Melvin Johnson, reading a joint board statement, said local control and community involvement are the best medicine for improving academic achievement.

“We believe it is not only wrong, but risky to give up local control to a new state bureaucracy,” Johnson said, adding the board “strongly believes the answer to improved academic outcomes and achievement is in the classroom and school house.”

Board member Stan Jester, the lone vote against the district statement, said the district should be prepared in case the in-house efforts don’t succeed in addressing years of damage.

“If this does not work for us, what’s the plan?” he asked. “Whether you like OSD or not, what’s the plan if we can’t improve academic achievement?”

The Faith & Freedom Coalition of Georgia has printed 2016 voter guides and is asking for assistance in distributing them. If you’d like to share the FFC guides with your friends and neighbors, contact FFC Georgia Executive Director Dave Baker via email to dbaker [at] ffcoalition [dot] com or via their Facebook page.

ffc_voter_guide_single

Marietta and Cobb County Boards of Education are considering a 5-year Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projected to raise $750 million.

State Rep. Howard Maxwell presents the four Amendments to the Georgia Constitution that voters will weigh-in on in November.

Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington, Jr. was arrested on allegations of family violence.

Local news media says a police report states Arrington became angry when his wife Kristen Reed Arrington threatened to call a woman in his phone.

His wife told police they wrestled over the phone as he pushed her to the ground, dragged her along the floor and twisted her arm behind her back.

Arrington Jr. was released from the Fulton County Jail on a $2,000 bond. He is the District 5 commissioner of Fulton.

The Fulton County Board of Assessors voted to fire Chief Appraiser David Fitzgibbon after an error in calculating property tax bills by a vendor.

Members of the county board of commissioners have criticized the error and felt Fitzgibbon was at least partly responsible for it. At an August Fulton Board of Commissioners meeting, District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis expressed concern about Fitzgibbon and asked for more accountability, collaboration and communication from the tax assessors’ office in the future.

“While it appears that the tax assessor’s office has finally provided tax digests to all jurisdictions, this year’s two-month delay is totally unacceptable,” Ellis said. “It has created unnecessary complications and distractions for many local governments. The delay, as well as other issues that have emerged, highlight the need for greater accountability from the Fulton County Tax Assessor’s Office.

Conservation groups are asking to file a friend of the court brief to assess effects on the environments in the Georgia-Florida water litigation.

“The court’s decision here will directly determine the fate of the Apalachicola River watershed and may well establish important precedent for future interstate water disputes that inevitably will arise in the face of growing human populations, a changing climate regime, and myriad federal and state legal mandates to protect ecosystem health,” the organizations stated in a court document filed Thursday.

The City of Warner Robins has hired a firm to study the costs and fees associated with providing water and sewer service.

Cherokee County Commissioners will hold a public hearing tonight on the FY 2017 budget, which will add up to 13 full-time employees while coming in $13 million under the FY 2016 budget.

“The decrease is primarily to the bond refunding that took place earlier this year so we had to transfer those funds to pay those bonds,” county manager Jerry Cooper said at the Sept. 6 work session. “That is the primary factor for the decrease in the budget.”

One of the 13 new jobs proposed for the county is a staff attorney, a move designed to cut legal costs.

“The addition of the staff attorney position will lessen the county’s spending on outside legal services significantly as well as allow even greater oversight into compliance and legal issues while offering a readily available resource to the county manager, agency directors and staff when needed,” Cooper said.

A $75 million solar farm to provide electricity to Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base opened Monday.

The plant, built in partnership with Georgia Power, is supposed to have been completed in December, but the 133,000 solar panels are in place well ahead of schedule, early enough for base commander Capt. James Jenks to wield some of the oversize scissors. Jenks moves on to a new duty assignment in Hawaii at the end of September.

To illustrate the size, Jenks said, it’s big enough for two Disney’s Magic Kingdoms, but with 17,000 acres, Kings Bay has room to spare.

He hinted to Georgia Power officials, “We have some room for expansion.”

The solar plant provides energy security for Kings Bay by providing “redundancy inside our fence line,” he said.

As base commander, one of the bills he approved each month was the $1 million power bill, and Kings Bay is working to reduce that by replacing all lights with more efficient LED lights and replacing the 1980s era heating and air-conditioning systems with more up-to-date technology, he said.

The Georgia Department of Education held a meeting in Columbus to receive citizen input on implementing federal education law.

“We know that our children are very wide and diverse, and our education needs to be wide and diverse,” Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods told the crowd. “We can put not only rigor with it, but also relevance.”

Woods urges stakeholders to take advantage of the flexibility in the new federal law.

“If we create and have the same model,” he said, “then we’ve really wasted a lot of time.”

The Newnan Times-Herald editorial page has become part of my daily reading since Walter Jones took over as Publisher. Their editorial on Constitution Day is worth reading, and if you know a young student, maybe high school or college, would be a great thing to pass along.

Today is the birthday of the Constitution, an amazing political document rightly venerated around the world. But it’s not a “living document.” It’s a contract.

A contract is a binding agreement between two parties, in this case, the government and the people or us. Imagine if your bank simply decided on its own to change the terms of your mortgage or the person you bought your lot from announced you could no longer use your back yard.

The terms of contracts only change by mutual consent. Most, like the Constitution, spell out the ways they can be changed. But it’s not a contract if one side tries to alter things midstream.

So, as we celebrate Constitution Day today, remember why we read the writings of our Founding Fathers, like The Federalist Papers. It’s to be clear on the understanding of those who agreed to the contract on our behalf. What did “domestic tranquility” and “common defense” mean at that time? Especially important is the meaning of the Bill of Rights where most of the controversy resides, like the right to free speech, to bear arms, protection from cruel and unusual punishment, and powers retained by the states.

If a majority of Americans conclude that the reasoning in 1897 is no longer applicable because of changing mores or technology, then we have a duty to propose an update and vote to ratify it. That has been done 27 times, so it’s not impractical, but it is difficult – yet fair.

I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read the entirety of it. And you might also pass it along to any elected officias you know.

Uber launches in Columbus today, with Mayor Tomlinson set for the first ride.

In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation that to allow Uber to move into Georgia markets through statewide regulation. The company must purchase a local business license in order to operate, but that is the extent of the local control, Goodwin said.

Uber is currently operating in the Atlanta, Athens, Macon and Savannah markets in Georgia. Last month, Uber launched in Auburn, Ala.

The Mercer School of Medicine is working on the next generation of healthcare professionals with a summer program for high school students from rural areas.

“We’re really trying to look for ways to build up our applicant pool from those areas because those are the kids we want,” Sumner said. “We need to develop a farm team.”

“Farm team” takes added meaning when you consider the audience of teenagers comes from 4-H Clubs in southeast Georgia. The project is a first for Mercer and the state 4-H organization – giving rural kids a taste of what it’s like to be in medical school. The 4-Hers took turns simulating doctor-patient conversations and learning how to test a reflex.

Rural Georgia has a doctor problem. A recent study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute finds two-thirds of the state’s counties don’t have enough doctors and most of those counties are rural.

Laura Harker, a health care policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, appreciated the Mercer-4-H recruitment effort. But Harker said that there are large forces at work in rural areas that make attracting new doctors difficult.

“It’s really important to focus on the current issues with rural hospitals and clinics that they’re facing, with having to care for so many people living in poverty or who are uninsured and not able to pay for care,” she said.

That situation can lead to rural hospitals struggling to balance their budgets. And those shaky hospital financial conditions can make small towns unattractive to prospective doctors.

19
Sep

Adoptable (Officials) Georgia Dogs for September 19, 2016

Rockdale Animal Control needs as many dogs as possible by this Friday so that the facility can undergo renovations. Any dogs over what they can finds homes for are subject to being euthanized.

Adoption fees for Rockdale County Residents
– Dogs/Puppies: $30
– Cats/Kittens: $20

Non-County Residents
– Dogs/Puppies: $35
– Cats/Kittens: $25

If you adopt 2 the 2nd one is only $12.

kahlua

Kahlua is a 10-12 month old Chocolate Lab and maybe Weimaraner mix girl who is available for adoption from Rockdale County Animal Control in Conyers, GA. She currently weighs 30 pounds and is a sweet and silly girl who loves to play.

celine

Celine is a young female mixed breed puppy about 6 months old and 20 pounds who is available for adoption from Rockdale County Animal Control in Conyers, GA.

Both Celine and her sister, Cecily, below, are cuties and super friendly. They love playing together outside and spend the entire time playing chase and tug of war. Both are eager to please and very submissive. They can be adopted individually, but if you adopt both, the second is only $12. Picked up near Old Salem Rd.

cecily

Cecily is a young female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Rockdale County Animal Control in Conyers, GA.

19
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 19, 2016

President George Washington gave his farewell address on September 19, 1796.

The period for a new election of a Citizen, to Administer the Executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the sametime, to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation, which binds a dutiful Citizen to his country–and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

On September 19, 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga was joined between the federal Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Thirteen marchers were shot and killed and forty more wounded in Camilla, Georgia at the Camilla Massacre on September 19, 1868 as marchers to a Republican Party rally were gunned down.

President James Garfield died on September 19, 1881, of wounds sustained on July 2d of that year. Garfield is one of seven Presidents born in Ohio – he and William McKinley, were both killed by assassins.

Chickamauga National Battlefield was dedicated September 19, 1895.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

gas-outage-sign

This sign greeted me Saturday at the local gas station and increasing numbers of Georgia motorists are encountering similar signs.

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order extending hours of service for truck drivers delivering fuel.

“Along with applying for, and receiving, a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this week, I’ve extended the executive order allowing extended operating times for commercial truck drivers to safeguard against any fuel supply issues in our state. We are confident these measures will help ensure Georgians’ uninterrupted access to motor fuel until Alabama’s pipeline is fixed.”

Governor Deal’s office had not received complaints about gas shortages when reached by the media on Sunday.

The governor of Georgia said Sunday his office hasn’t received any complaints of gas shortages within the state after a pipeline spill in central Alabama but some gas station employees have said they’ve had to close because they’re out.

“As of now … we’ve not received any complaints. If that changes on Monday or at any time in the coming days, the governor’s office will act accordingly,” Gov. Nathan Deal’s spokeswoman Jen Ryan said in a statement Sunday.

Please note that social media is not the same thing as calling or emailing the Governor’s Office.

Colonial Pipeline is working on a bypass for the leak in its pipeline that supplies Georgia.

Colonial Pipeline announced Saturday it is beginning construction of a temporary pipeline that will bypass a leaking section of its main gasoline pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama.

No timetable was given as to when that bypass line would be completed or what path it would take.

The Trump-Pence campaign office grand opening drew hundreds of supporters to their new Sandy Springs location.

Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters showed up to a grand opening Saturday of the campaign’s new Georgia digs. And many walked away as newly-minted volunteers for the businessman’s final push to November.

They left with armfuls of campaign signs, absentee ballot information and pledges to knock on neighbors’ doors and work the phones in the final seven weeks before the election.

Kathy Potts and Becky Love have become something of celebrities in Georgia Republican circles with their T-shirts declaring themselves “deplorables” mocking Clinton’s controversial comments last week. The two have fanned out to GOP gatherings across the state helping to rev up support for Trump in between TV appearances.

At each event, Potts carries her own basket labeled “deplorables.” With its contents, she hopes to make sure Georgia stays in the Republican column: Hundreds of absentee ballots.

“We are trying to make a statement,” she said. “And it’s working.”

In Augusta also, a Trump-Pence campaign office opened this weekend.

“Election Day is right around the corner and Georgia Republicans are working around the clock to ensure victory for Trump-Pence, Senator Johnny Isakson, and the entire Republican ticket,” 12th District GOP Chairman Mike Welsh said in the release.

“The East Regional GOP Headquarters will serve as the hub for volunteer operations in the CSRA. We encourage local conservatives to volunteer their time in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Together, we can stop the Clinton Machine and do our part to make American great again!”

Compare that level of enthusiasm with that of some voters to whom the Gainesville Times spoke.

The old philosophy of choosing the “lesser of two evils” in the voting booth isn’t working for some Hall County residents and students during this presidential election season.

“Not only am I not excited, I am disgusted,” resident Terry Wright said. “I’ve never voted anything but a straight Republican ticket, but there is no way I could vote for (Donald) Trump and still like who I see in the mirror. I will vote but I will write in someone else.”

On the Republican side is a candidate many believe to be a demagogue and racist. The Democrats chose a nominee who many believe is politically corrupt and compromised.

“I think so many students have no faith in (Hillary) Clinton or Trump for many reasons,” said Douglas Young, a political science professor at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville. “Since both candidates are pushing 70, they each have a long record of statements and actions to defend.”

Student Jessica Swords said she considers herself a “little ‘L’ libertarian,” but she’s not sold on that party’s nominee.

“Perhaps the better question is, ‘Why am I not supporting Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?” Swords said. “Both are not constitutional candidates … and Hillary is too corrupt to even qualify. While I would prefer Trump over Hillary, I do not think that he truly understands the importance of the Constitution and limited power of the executive branch.”

Speaker of the House David Ralston told the Statesboro Herald that he supports passage of all four Constitutional Amendments on the November ballot.

The Voter Participation Center in Washington, DC, which we’ve been following since June, is now targeting non-registered potential voters.

Some locals have already reported receiving the mailers — part of a batch of 11 million sent out recently by the Voter Participation Center in D.C.

Interim Director of Voter Registration Sabrina German said she’s heard that as many as 25,000 Chatham County residents will receive a form from the agency, which uses the Georgia Secretary of State’s master voter registration list, along with other commercial databases to locate unregistered voters.

The goal, according to a statement from VPC President Page Gardner, is to reach the demographics most underrepresented on Election Day — people of color, millenials and single women. She said so far, it’s been successful. During the past 12 years, the VPC has registered 3 million people to vote.

But some of these registration forms have and will miss their mark. Already in Chatham County, mailers have reportedly been sent to the wrong addresses. And representatives of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office have gotten complaints about other issues — including mailers sent to someone who has died.

“Unfortunately, no state makes available a list of individuals who are unregistered to vote,” Gardner said in her statement. “As a result, VPC must use commercially available residential databases and match them to the state’s voter file to determine who is unregistered and otherwise eligible. … VPC uses many ‘protocol improvements’ that are designed to make these lists more accurate, and to reduce mailings sent to people and addresses that should not receive them.”

The 2017 Session of the Georgia General Assembly is likely to be deja vu all over again with a repeat of the 2015 fight over religious liberty legislation.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, a leader of the push for religious liberty legislation, dismissed the veto of HB 757 as a deciding factor in major jobs announcements. He said the bill was misrepresented as discriminatory and included protections previously sought by the business and pro-LGBT community.Opponents of religious liberty bills, he said, “are desperate to get something in print to say there’s a positive economic impact to squelching people of faith.”

North Carolina Department of Commerce spokeswoman Kim Genardo scoffed at any suggestion her state’s bathroom law stunted growth, saying “North Carolina’s economic development pipeline is certainly full.”

North Carolina’s jobless rate, 4.7 percent in July, remains lower than Georgia’s figure, which ticked down to 4.9 percent in August.

Georgia added 116,000 jobs in the 12 months ended in July, compared to 94,000 in North Carolina in that time, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, though how much political factors contributed is impossible to know. From April through July, Georgia added 25,700 public and private sector jobs, while North Carolina performed slightly better in the face of controversy with 30,100.

Reducing the number of polling places may disproportionately affect African-American voters, according to a story by Reuters.

Georgia has been an epicenter for efforts to reduce polling places since the Supreme Court decision [eliminating the pre-clearance requirement for voting changes]. And in that state, which has not backed a Democrat in a presidential election since 1992, polls show Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a close battle for the presidency that could be decided by turnout of minority voters.

“If you want to restrict voter turnout in minority and disadvantaged communities, a good way is to move a polling place somewhere they can’t get to,” said Stacey Abrams, Democratic leader in the Georgia state legislature.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said race was being unfairly inserted into the debate on polling place changes.

“It’s election officials making adjustments based on the changing ways people are voting,” he said.

Georgia Life Alliance gave awards to Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), State Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford), and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.

The Georgia Life Alliance awarded Collins the Federal Legislator of the Year award, noting the congressman has “a 100 percent pro-life voting record with every pro-life organization in Washington D.C.” according to a news release.

Cagle was awarded the organization’s Champion for Life Award, for “actively supporting pro-life legislation at the state capitol.”

Unterman was awarded the State Senator of the Year Award, most notably for her work with S.B. 308, which established the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program.

“Senator Unterman is one of the most effective advocates for life at the state capitol,” said Matson.

The Marietta Daily Journal stakes out a position in opposition to the Opportunity School District.

But if you think this question appears on the ballot as a well-intentioned effort to improve childhood education, please reconsider. This has nothing to do with the 1.7 million public school students in Georgia.

It has everything to do with money.

The amendment would allow an unaccountable education czar to seize a local school from the locally elected school board if that school scored 60 or below on Georgia’s College and Career Readiness Index for three consecutive years.

Rescuing students from failing schools, as this amendment purports to do, is an admirable action to take, but it bears mentioning Georgia’s governor already has the power to intervene in problem school systems.

Meanwhile, the Dougherty County School Superintendent advises local Board of Education members against opposing the Amendment.

Superintendent Butch Mosely is taking a neutral stance.

“As far as we are concerned, three out of four members of our local legislative delegation voted for SB133 (which is the foundation of the proposed amendment) and we will not have an official position on the referendum,” Mosely said. “My suggestion to the board of education is to not get involved in politics and let the state’s voters decide the issue in November.”

Dougherty County currently has four flagged schools on the list of 127 schools state-wide that would be impacted if the referendum passes — Southside Middle School, and Alice Coachman, Morningside and Northside elementary schools.

“We have a plan in place and if it works, the amendment should have no impact on us.” Mosely said. “We have put benchmarks in place for each school, each grade level and those that are at the 60 percent level, we expect them to make from three to five percent improvement every year.

“I am hopeful we can get all of our schools to the 90 percent level and we think that’s doable. This plan will work with good leadership at the school level with help from the administration.”

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway is on-board with the re-election of Senator Johnny Isakson.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway is among 70 law enforcement officials who announced their support of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s re-election campaign.

The group, which calls itself Law Enforcement for Isakson, is made up of sheriffs, police chiefs and Georgia Department of Corrections Board member Wayne Dasher.

“I am proud to have earned the support of law enforcement officials from across our great state who have dedicated their lives to help ensure the safety of Georgians,” Isakson said in a statement. “I applaud their work, appreciate their families and depend upon their expertise.”

Conway joins a list of local officials endorsing the senator that includes Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, Commissioner Jace Brooks, local GOP officials, mayors and several members of the county’s legislative delegation.

Retroactive property tax refunds for disabled veterans may be an issue gaining some traction heading into the 2017 Session. We noted a related issue in Fayette County last week, and now this from the Gainesville Times.

An uphill battle is nothing new to Russell Rego, but the Hall County resident keeps pushing like the 21-year Marine veteran he is.

When the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs declined to declare him 100 percent disabled several years ago, he appealed the decision and won.

And now, Rego, whose disability stems from his service years, is trying to change state law so that veterans can get a retroactive property tax break based on their lengthy wait to get full disability through the VA.

He’s motivated by his own unsuccessful attempt to claim such a break earlier this year in Hall County.

“Use me as an example of what I tried to do,” said Rego, who served from 1972 to 1993.

State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, is preparing legislation on the matter, which could come up when the General Assembly, which convenes in January.

“Our veterans are running into a problem with tardiness of the VA and moving issues along, especially health issues,” he said.

Opioid Abuse

The Associated Press and Center for Public Integrity have tallied political campaign donations from pharaceutical manufacturers.

Makers of prescription painkillers have spent $880 million nationwide on lobbying and campaign contributions from 2006 through 2015, more than 200 times what those advocating for stricter policies spent, according to a 50-state review.

In Georgia, state lawmakers received more than $1.2 million and were lobbied each year by an average of 41 people representing drug makers and related advocacy groups.

Members of the Pain Care Forum, a coalition of companies and advocacy groups that meets to discuss opioid-related issues, gave more than $1.2 million to state lawmakers, candidates and parties from 2006 to 2015. That total put Georgia eighth in the nation when painkiller producers’ contributions are ranked using a ratio that factors in all campaign contributions.

Pfizer Inc. spent the most in Georgia among all drug companies and advocates – at least $622,686 from 2006 through 2015. The company’s contributions in 2012 were the highest for a single year, totaling $91,550.

The company has several locations in Georgia, including a manufacturing plant in Albany.

In the meantime, nearly 8 million prescriptions were issued in Georgia last year for opioid medications.

Opioids, which can also help patients suffering from fatal illnesses, are contributing to an overdose crisis that killed about a thousand people a year in Georgia between 2006 and 2014. Those deaths involved drugs of all kinds, though most were tied to heroin and prescription painkillers such as fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that killed Prince in April.

Mike Morrison, a Gwinnett assistant district attorney, prosecuted the man who supplied the drugs that killed Futrell and two others. All three plus their dealer were addicted to pain pills. Some of the roots of the problem are clear to Morrison.

“We had a number of these pain clinics pop up in Gwinnett. There would be lines out the door to get prescriptions for opiates,” he said, adding that phenomenon has faded amid enforcement. “And from that addiction, it was cheaper to go to heroin.”

Doctors and dentists in Georgia said they are fighting the opioid epidemic through educational campaigns and by providing patients with safe places to dispose of unneeded or expired medications. They are also using a state database that helps identify “doctor-shopping” patients. And they are helping police get more supplies of a life-saving drug called naloxone, which reverses overdoses.

Dr. Ben Jernigan Jr., president of the Georgia Dental Association, said: “The root of the problem is far deeper than prescribing pain killers. Patients have a responsibility to use opioid painkillers only as prescribed and to keep their unused medications from getting into the wrong hands.”

Garden clubs in Macon dedicated a Blue Star marker and a Gold Star marker honoring Georgia veterans last week.

Rotarians in Perry heard about efforts to fight sex trafficking in Georgia.

Watson shared some facts that included the city of Atlanta has been named one of the top 14 cities by the Federal Bureau Investigation for child sex trafficking.

“It doesn’t just happen in Atlanta it’s all across the state,” said Watson. “Children are being raped for profit everywhere. In 2015 there were 155 active cases for minors in 78 counties across Georgia. This includes 26 cases in Bibb County. And just two weeks ago a man from Warner Robins was charged in trafficking minors in two different hotels. He placed an ad online which included a video of the teenagers he engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”

16
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 16, 2016

princess

Princess is a young female Dachshund and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from AthensPets in Athens, GA. Princess is happy and playful, and was a good mother to her puppies, who are now headed to their forever homes.

snow-white

Snow White is a young female American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from AthensPets in Athens, GA.

Snow White greeted us with a big smile and was wagging her tail all the way to the interaction pen. She is a very sweet dog, was happy to be out, happy to be petted, and she loves butt rubs! She may need some extra TLC because she looks very thin, but with good food and extra love this girl will flourish. Snow White will come when you call her and follow you around. She is gentle and happy, and looks like a great dog. Don’t miss the chance to come meet her.

cherilee

Cherilee is a young female Miniature Pinscher who is available for adoption from IMPS – Internet Miniature Pinscher Service, Inc – AL/GA region in Athens,GA.

Cherilee is a very sweet little girl once she warms up and trusts someone. This will take a few weeks, and unlike most Min Pins, she is not one to readily take treats at first. She loves to play hard and then crash. Playing her way involves running and bouncing off furniture. It may involve a game of chasing human hands that move across a couch or floor as well. While there are other dogs in her foster home, she tends to play solo.

Cherilee is house-trained and will let someone know when she needs to go outside by running to the door and back to the person. Sometimes she’ll stand at the door or put her front paws on it. She is also crate trained if a treat is involved and does well in her crate when left alone. When someone is home, she will probably be found under a blanket somewhere in typical Min Pin burrowing fashion.

Please note that Cherilee does require a fenced yard. At this time, she will do best in a calm household with a woman as her caregiver since men terrify her. She is not a dog who will walk on leash due to her fears, though it has been tried. Whoever adopts her must possess patience and a willingness to work with her to overcome her fears.

16
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die. Constitution Day is celebrated September 17th, although sometimes it is observed on the weekday closest to the 17th and the National Archives has some great background materials.

The United States government took out its first loan on September 18, 1789, the proceeds of which were used to pay the salaries of the President, and First Congress. On the same day, future President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to E. Rutledge in which he requested that a shipment of olive trees be sent via Baltimore.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793.

We know from that newspaper article, and from Masonic ritual, that Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under the cornerstone at the southeast corner of this building. However, we do not know whether that meant the southeast corner of the Senate wing, the first section of the building to be completed, or the southeast corner of the whole building as intended, which would locate it over on the House side. Two centuries later, the Architect of the Capitol is still searching for that cornerstone. Metal detectors have failed to locate the silver plate.

President George Washington gave his farewell address on September 19, 1796.

The period for a new election of a Citizen, to Administer the Executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the sametime, to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation, which binds a dutiful Citizen to his country–and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act on September 18, 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if they were in a free state.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

On September 19, 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga was joined between the federal Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Thirteen marchers were shot and killed and forty more wounded in Camilla, Georgia at the Camilla Massacre on September 19, 1868 as marchers to a Republican Party rally were gunned down.

President James Garfield died on September 19, 1881, of wounds sustained on July 2d of that year. Garfield is one of seven Presidents born in Ohio – he and William McKinley, were both killed by assassins.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1893 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft. On the same day, Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and would go on to hold the post for 17 years total, the longest tenure of any Speaker.

On September 18, 1973, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter filed a report claiming that he saw an Unidentified Flying Object in the sky above Leary, Georgia in 1969.

Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. At about 7:15 p.m (EST), one of the guests called his attention to a strange object that was visible about 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. Carter described the object as being bright white and as being about as bright as the moon. It was said to have appeared to have closed in on where he was standing but to have stopped beyond a stand of pine trees some distance from him. The object is then said to have changed color, first to blue, then to red, then back to white, before appearing to recede into the distance. Carter felt that the object was self-luminous, but not a solid in nature. Carter’s report indicates that it was witnessed by about ten or twelve other people, and was in view for ten to twelve minutes before it passed out of sight.

Click here to view a copy of the report, allegedly on file at the Carter Center.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

The Allman Brothers Band was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 19, 1998.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Jim Barksdale campaigned in Athens at the University of Georgia.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, a small group of students and community members gathered in Room 267 of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center to hear an old man wearing his old-fashioned driving cap speak.

“I’m supposed to wear this hat so I’m in character,” he chuckled.

The man was Jim Barksdale, the investment millionaire hoping to shock normal political conventions by defeating U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson in Georgia’s big ticket race this year.

Actually, you’re not supposed to wear a hat indoors unless you’re a lady.

Barksdale is not the only clown to visit Athens, as police have received reports of menacing clowns.Continue Reading..

15
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 15, 2015

bella2

A young college student is trying to find a home for her father’s dog after he died.

Bella is a 25lb terrier mix who was rescued from the Humane Society 5 years ago and is available for adoption in the Tucker area.

She is between 6 and 7 years old. She doesn’t normally get along well with other small dogs but can get along with dogs bigger than her. She may not do well with cats.

She has lots of energy. We would like her to have a home with a fenced in yard or someone able to give her daily walks.

She has an unfortunately high pitched, irritating bark but has the potential to be trained to use it less.

She walks wonderfully on a leash and is up to date on all her vaccines.

She knows her sit and stay commands.

At night she likes to sleep right next to you and always wants/asks for attention.

Please share this post so the word can get out and we can find her a wonderful loving home.

P.S. She has a curly tail. Sadly it isn’t visible in any of the photos.

In addition to a great little dog, you will earn the thanks of a young woman who lost her father. If you’re interested in adopting Bella or helping her find a home, email [email protected].
bella1

mariah

Mariah is a young female Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Hero Dog Rescue in Cumming, GA.

jane

Jane is a young female Rat Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from Hero Dog Rescue in Cumming, GA.

This looks like a great event: Dancing with the Dogs to support the Georgia Pet Coalition.

dancing-dogs

15
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 15, 2016

On September 15, 1831, Dr. Samuel Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler – missionaries – were tried in a Lawrenceville courtroom for living as white people among the Cherokee and refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Georgia, convicted and sentenced to hard labor. Some historians refer to this case, which went to the United States Supreme Court on appeal, as the beginning of the events that led to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears.”

HMS Beagle, carrying Charles Darwin, arrived at the Gallapagos Islands on September 15, 1835.

On September 15, 1904, Wilbur Wright made the first in-flight turn in an airplane.

Early on the morning of September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

On September 15, 1996, the Texas Rangers retired #34 in honor of the most dominant pitcher in professional baseball history, Nolan Ryan.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Rest in Peace to Bill Bryant, Jr.,  who died Saturday,“not wanting to witness the results of the 2016 election and after determining nothing on television was worth watching anymore….”

Two Georgians were on Fox Business News fighting back against Hillary calling Trump supporters deplorable.

I hope they’re selling Deplorables t-shirts online now.Continue Reading..

14
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 14, 2016

cynthia

Cynthia is an 11-week old female Pit Bull Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

matilda

Matilda is a 5-month old female Pit Bull Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

lydia

Lydia is a 10-week old female Siberian Husky and German Shepherd Dog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

14
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 14, 2016

Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” on September 14, 1814.

On September 14, 1885, Georgia Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation granting up to 200 acres in Fulton and DeKalb Counties to the federal government to be used in the constuction of Fort McPherson, which was named after Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.

On September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died of an infection from gunshot wounds suffered eight days earlier.

On September 14, 1974, Eric Clapton’s cover of the Bob Marley song, “I Shot the Sheriff” reached #1 on the music charts. After 42 years, we still don’t know who shot the deputy.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Atlanta is number one in receiving robocall, according to a nationwide study.

The latest YouMail Robocall Index shows Atlanta’s 404 area code was the nation’s most robocalled area codes for the ninth straight month, with 49,362,000 robocalls in August. That’s up 13 percent over July.

The 678 area code was No. 4 most robocalled in the nation with 38,112,000 robocalls, up 9 percent over July.

Police in LaGrange passed on reports of clown creeping, which then made the rounds on social media.

Lt. Dale Strickland told 11Alive News someone started a Facebook Page (which has since been taken down) threatening to dress like a clown and drive a white van to Callaway Elementary, Franklin Forrest Elementary, Callaway Middle School, Troup High School, and Callaway High School and abduct children. Strickland says that threat is a clear violation of the law. The department is working to obtain warrants that will help them track down who posted the threats.

Stickland said there were no spottings of the creepy clown, but the police department was flooded with calls from concerned parents. The police department posted a message on Facebook: “This behavior is not cute or funny… if applicable, you may face charges.”

The LaGrange threat is the latest in a series of bizarre clown reports across the country.

They now say that the reports are probably fictitious.

The stories of clowns creeping around neighborhoods or near schools seems to be myth, according to investigators with the LaGrange Police Department.

Several Facebook posts are circulating stories of clowns in a van spotted in neighborhoods talking to children, said LPD officials. Those reports have been checked by police officers and are unsubstantiated, said Lt. Dale Strickland, commander of administrative services.

Clowns chasing young students in Macon led a parent to call 911, according to the Macon Telegraph.

A mother called 911 Tuesday after her children were reportedly chased away from a south Macon bus stop by people dressed up like clowns, Bibb County sheriff’s Cpl. Linda Howard said.

The children were waiting on a school bus in the 4700 block of Elkan Avenue shortly before 8 a.m. when they ran back home and told their mother that they’d been chased by clowns wielding fake knives and flashlights, Howard said. The kids said the clowns came from abandoned houses and bushes near Elkan Avenue and Dapleton Drive, according to a Tuesday evening news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The kids “said it looked like it may have been like older kids or adults,” Howard said, adding that the children didn’t give a description of what they saw. “All they said was clowns.”

Some of the kids told police they received friend requests on Facebook from people dressed as clowns. Some received messages saying “I will find you,” the release said.

Deputies searched the area but didn’t find anyone dressed like a clown. Howard said the area will be patrolled in the morning and evening hours.

Fortunately for law enforcement, clowns tend to be easily apprehended due to being slowed by their big floppy shoes.

Jack Kingston and David Perdue jointly penned an editorial making the case for Donald Trump for President.

Competing head-to-head in the Georgia Republican primary for the United States Senate in 2014 we got to know each other well. During a long year of primary and runoff campaigning, each of us pledged to support the eventual nominee.

We honored that pledge and put our differences aside. Our differences were nothing compared to our differences with the Democrats who wanted another seat in the United States Senate to push President Barack Obama’s progressive agenda.

Our message is simple, and the choice is clear. The future of our country for the next 50 years is at stake. From the balance of power on the Supreme Court to our system of checks and balances in Congress, we need new leadership in the White House.

Putting Donald Trump in the White House is our best chance to finally achieve our shared goal and change the direction of our country.

Trump has tapped into a growing movement of disenfranchised Americans. His powerful message has motivated more people to get involved in the political process and he has helped increase Republican primary turnout by over 60 percent. He is listening to all of us and he has already proven he is ready to do things differently in Washington.

It is time to truly change the direction of our country and make America great again.

The legislature’s Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians Study Committee holds its second hearing on Thursday at 1 PM at North Georgia Technical College- Currahee Campus, 8989 Highway 17 South, Toccoa, GA 30577

Michael McNeely spoke at the Muscogee County Republican Party, days after announcing he will run for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party in 2017.

When asked what he thought about the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s health, as well as her recent comments on Trump supporters being called “deplorable,” McNeely said it was wrong of her to categorize voters that way.

“We should have respect for every individual that is a citizen of this country and is looking to make the right choice for the individual who will become the next president of the United States,” he said.

McNeely also touched on how the state Republican Party is pooling all its resources to help candidates win key elections across the state, as well as supporting the Donald Trump and Mike Pence presidential ticket.

As for comments on Clinton’s health, McNeely said he hopes she recovers but that questions about her health jeopardize her chances to win the election.

Hall County residents will likely have fewer Obamacare choices as providers continue to exit the federal marketplace.

Hall County will likely lose half its current insurance providers within the Affordable Care Act marketplace next year, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The move would affect about 10,400 residents who buy individual exchange coverage.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said last week on the floor of the Senate that the ACA is but a broken promise, and that patients have a shrinking pool of doctors and health plans to choose from.

“Just last month, after Aetna, United Healthcare and Cigna announced they would leave Georgia’s marketplace, Blue Cross (Blue Shield) filed its third premium increase for the third time this summer, an increase of 21.4 percent,” Isakson said. “Earlier in the summer, Humana announced the average premium increase in the state of Georgia of a whopping 67.5 percent. And in 2016, all 159 counties in Georgia had at least two provider options. Next year, 96 counties in Georgia will only have one option.”

Most counties with just one option are rural, and government subsidies will lighten the burden of premium increases for some.

Sandy Springs City Council confirmed Mayor Rusty Paul’s appointment of as chief municipal judge.

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in favor of the clerk of Chatham County Superior Court in a pay dispute with the County Commission.

All seven of the state’s Supreme Court justices agreed to the opinion released this week, which determined that Chatham’s Superior Court clerk, Dan Massey, is entitled cost of living adjustments provided to other county workers by the Chatham County Commission. The opinion upholds a May 2015 order from Superior Court Judge Charles Rose of the Atlantic Circuit in Hinesville, who was appointed to hear the case after all the judges in Chatham County Superior Court recused themselves.

The case between Massey and the Chatham County Commission had been ongoing since December 2014, when the Superior Court Clerk filed suit against the county to recoup pay he argued he was owed for several years. According to the opinion released Monday, Massey was asking for the required longevity increases provided to elected officials on each subsequent term, cost of living adjustments provided for his post by the state of Georgia, and cost of living adjustments that were provided to county employees through local legislation.

But the county argued that Massey was not entitled to the local cost of living increase because the local legislation that dealt with the clerk’s salary at the time was unconstitutional and not enforceable. The clerk, they argued, was not entitled to a salary that exceeds the law’s requirements.

The Chatham County Board of Elections met with the Chatham County Board of Registrars to discuss improving election processes.

This year has been particularly busy for the two agencies, as two local elected officials have died in office over the past year, leaving vacancies that required a special election to fill.

Add to those special elections some runoffs and the regular schedule during a presidential election year, and the current tally of elections in Chatham County is at five. There will be at least one more — the Nov. 8 general election — and possibly two more after that if any of the local, state or federal races on the ballot go on to a runoff.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and the City Commission disagree over who should be able to ask the law department to draft an ordinance.

Augusta Commission members made quick work of Mayor Hardie Davis’ objection to a new policy about use of law department resources and voted to remove his signature line from the document Tuesday.

Davis said the procedure “restricts the ability of a commissioner-legislator-policy maker from an inherent premise of representative democracy,” which is “to introduce legislation at any time.”

The mayor, a former state senator and representative, hasn’t introduced any ordinances to the commission since taking office, including before the commission approved the policy June 21.

But not being able to get the law office’s aid in doing so “has the chilling effect of not only hindering the legislative process, but effectively censoring ideas of an elected member of the commission,” Davis continued, then invoking Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

Opportunity School District

Proponents of the Opportunity School District are out with a new TV ad featuring Democratic Senator Freddie Powell Sims.

From the AJC

[The OSD Amendment] faces staunch opposition from leading Democrats and educators groups who say it would give control of local schools to an aloof entity that is not accountable to voters.

Deal’s advisers hope that’s where advocates like Sims Powell, a retired middle school principal and a leader in Albany’s black community, can step in.

They aim for a replay of the 2012 fight over a charter school constitutional amendment, which earned surprising support in some heavily-black areas despite a wall of opposition from Democratic officials. And Deal has tailored his message to minority voters, casting the debate as a “moral imperative” as he speaks to groups like the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

The Muscogee County Board of Education will vote next week on a resolution opposing the Opportunity School District Constitutional Amendment.

With eight of its 53 schools on the chronically failing list that would make them eligible for state takeover if Georgia voters pass the November referendum, the Muscogee County School Board is scheduled to vote next week on a resolution to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment.

The Muscogee board’s proposed resolution asserts, if the OSD is approved, “our local voice will be eliminated” and “would result in or have the effect of limiting the authority or the revenue generating potential of local school systems.”

The proposed resolution also claims, “Taking away local control, diminishing resources and making efforts to shift the governance of local schools will do just the opposite for the successful outcomes of Muscogee County students.”