The blog.


Snellville officials honor retiring police dog | Gwinnett Daily Post

SNELLVILLE — After more than a decade on the force, Chris is hanging up his badge.

The Snellville mayor and city council on Monday night honored the retiring K-9 following a storied career of service, including more than 900 drug searches and 175 arrests.

According to a proclamation approved by the officials, a highlight in the Belgian Malinois’ time working with partner Sgt. David Matson was helping police find more than 900 pounds of marijuana and $115,000 in cash hidden beneath a false floor in an RV. That was after human officers almost missed the contraband.

via Snellville officials honor retiring police dog | Gwinnett Daily Post.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 24, 2015

On February 24, 1803, the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall decided the case of Marbury v. Madison, enunciating the principle of judicial review under which the Court has authority to review Congressional action and hold them unconstitutional.

In writing the decision, John Marshall argued that acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution are not law and therefore are non-binding to the courts, and that the judiciary’s first responsibility is always to uphold the Constitution. If two laws conflict, Marshall wrote, the court bears responsibility for deciding which law applies in any given case.

Union troops under General George Thomas attacked Confederates led by General Joseph Johnston near Dalton, Georgia on February 24, 1865.

Casualties were light. Thomas suffered fewer than 300 men killed, wounded, or captured, while Johnston lost around 140 troops. The Union generals did learn a valuable lesson, however; a direct attack against Rocky Face Ridge was foolish. Three months later, Sherman, in command after Grant was promoted to commander of all forces, sent part of his army further south to another gap that was undefended by the Confederates. The intelligence garnered from the Battle of Dalton helped pave the way for a Union victory that summer.

The Atlanta Journal was first published on February 24, 1883.

On February 24, 1988, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, that the First Amendment protects publishers against claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the plaintiff is a public figure being parodied by the publication.

Carly Fiorina in Atlanta Today; Ben Carson visited Gwinnett

Former Hewlett Packard CEO, 2010 Republican candidate for United States Senate from California and possible 2016 Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will be in Atlanta today to speak to the Capitol Club lunch hosted by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The lunch is at the Event Loft at Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama Street, Suite 007, Atlanta, Georgia.

Another potential 2016 GOP candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, spoke in Gwinnett County this past weekend. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“If everything continues to go as planned,” the political novice will announce a presidential exploratory committee in “the next few weeks.”

“It just kept building and building,” Carson said.

The presumed presidential candidate was at the Gwinnett Center on Saturday evening to speak at the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation’s annual donor appreciation gala. His comments, made in front of a record-breaking crowd of 900, included medical anecdotes, parts of his own background and plenty of quips. They also followed a few familiar themes: a bashing of health care reform, stereotypes and a bit about “what all of us can do as Americans to fortify the future for those coming behind us.”

“We’re in the process of completely destroying any chance that (our children) will have for a reasonable future,” Carson said. “And that made me decide that maybe I should be speaking out more. Whether I run or not, I definitely need to speak out more.”

Carson believes he’s gained popularity because Americans are “responding to common sense.” He said his lack of political experience is actually a positive (“The people who have had a lot of experience have done a fine job, haven’t they?”) and took on another one of his favorite targets: the so-called “PC police.”

Under the Gold Dome Today

Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 24, 2015

T-Bone Walton

It’s a good policy to always start your day with a puppy, so here’s T-Bone, a 3-month old, 12-pound puppy who was surrendered by his owner and is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA.

Champ Walton

Champ is a 1-year old, 40-pound low-rider mix who is affectionate with people and interact well with other dogs. He was surrendered by his owner and is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA.

Lucy Walton

“Lucy’ is a friendly and social year-old, 60-pound Black Lab who was found stray and whose owner has been notified but hasn’t picked her up. She came in with “Lola” below and will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA beginning Friday, February 27, 2015.

Walton Lola

“Lola’ is a friendly and social year-old, 60-pound female Yellow Lab who was found stray and whose owner has been notified but hasn’t picked her up.She came in with “Lucy” above and will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA beginning Friday, February 27, 2015.

Generic Bulldog

No photo is available yet, so we improvised. Number 2015 0213 (A1) is a 5-year old, 50-pound English Bulldog female who was found stray and will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA beginning Friday, February 27, 2015. Check out the Walton County website for a photo and more information when it becomes available.

Today, in honor of Governor Nathan Deal’s proclamation of February 2015 as Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and today, February 24 as World Spay Day, Lifeline Spay and Neuter Clinics in Avondale Estates will be paying for 50 pit bulls and pit bull mixes to be spayed or neutered free of charge in their “Fifty Pit Mix.”

According to LifeLine CEO Rebecca Guinn, spaying and neutering is critical in reducing the number of homeless animals, especially unwanted pit bulls. “The number of abandoned pit bulls that come into our shelters is staggering, and the main reason is because people are not fixing their dogs,” she says. “By eliminating financial barriers, and encouraging residents to get their pit bull dogs fixed, we hope to see a reduction in the number of these dogs entering our shelters.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed the month of February as Spay Neuter Awareness Month in Georgia, stating in his proclamation, “Each year shelters must euthanize millions of animals, many that are adoptable and healthy, because there aren’t enough homes… All of Georgia’s pets should be assured loving homes and a lifetime of care… The citizens of Georgia have a responsibility to spay and neuter their pets.”


Cotton, the State of Georgia’s sixth and longest-serving arson dog has died after more than ten years service to the state and her citizens.

“We’ll always remember Cotton as a valuable employee in the fight against arson,” [Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph] Hudgens said. “Without his special abilities, hundreds of suspicious fires in Georgia may have gone unsolved.”

Cotton was born on February 9, 2001, and began his training as an arson detection Labrador retriever in August 2003 at the Maine State Police Training Center in Alfred, Maine. He came to work for the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s office in September 2003 as the sixth arson canine in the state to serve the law enforcement and fire service communities.

Between September 2003 and January 2014, Cotton and his handler, Investigator Bruce Gourley were involved in more than three thousand fire investigations. Cotton’s specialized training in sniffing out petrochemical products allowed him to determine if accelerants were used to start a fire. This ability led to the convictions of 250 arson suspects, which included six arrests for murders that involved arson.

Senator Curt Thompson lost most of his worldy belongings and several pets in a home fire.

I lost my home today in a house fire. I lost everything in the way of personal belongings I own but I’m safe.

Family pets: Stein (the St Bernard hero), mr 3 cats, Rosie, Nieves, Ms Kitty, my bird Mufalda, and the fish all perished. May peace be upon them in their next journey. They will be missed.

One family member, my dog ChaChi, gratefully, did survive thanks to Stein.

Thanks Sarah Haynes and Dorel Bud for calling the fire department, Jay Trevari and Jeff Thomas for contacting me and being there, Tony Morgan from State Farm for driving out personally, and to everyone else who checked in, called or pitched in.

Thanks also to my Senate colleagues and friends who checked in and offered help.

An online fundraiser has been set up to help Sen. Thompson. Lobbyists should check with their legal or compliance advisers before donating.


VIDEO – GA Senate Press Office: Senate in a Minute: Day 20 with Sen. Josh McKoon

Your Georgia Desk

From The Georgia Senate Press Office and Senator Josh McKoon

Senate in a Minute: Day 20

Continue Reading..


VIDEO – Sen. Josh McKoon: The End of the British Slave Trade

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Josh McKoon

Sen. McKoon: Point of Privilege – The End of the British Slave Trade


Gov. Deal releases Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee report

Immediate action to be taken in order to meet the needs of rural hospitals across state, governor says 

Gov. Nathan Deal today released the final report of recommendations from his Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, which was created last April to identify and provide solutions for the needs of Georgia’s rural hospital community.

“When a rural hospital struggles, a community struggles,” said Deal. “Back in April we stood at a critical juncture for some of our state’s rural health care systems, and this committee was just one of the paths taken to ensure that Georgians, no matter where they live, have the ability to receive adequate care. These recommendations, a result of countless hours of dedicated analysis and review of a system that affects not only our citizens’ wellbeing, but also our local economies, will serve as a strong starting point toward providing high-quality health care throughout rural Georgia.”Continue Reading..


Reed says traffic fixes will prompt yes vote on infrastructure |

Mayor Kasim Reed predicts Atlanta’s notoriously troubled traffic woes will prompt locals, anxious for any ounce of gridlock relief, to approve spending $250 million on infrastructure fixes next month.

“Traffic light synchronization and bridge repair, on their own … really make this dog hunt,” Reed said, adding that key to the bond passage is that voters understand their taxes won’t rise as a result. “This is less about persuasion and more about awareness of the election.”

Reed has less than a month left to convince voters to say yes on March 17 to two separate bonds. The first, worth $188 million, will fund capital maintenance projects such as road improvements and sidewalks. The second bond, valued at $64 million, will pay to build or improve municipal facilities.

In late 2008, Atlanta completed a study that found nearly half of its 1,705 miles of streets were in disrepair and needed repaving. About the same time the great recession began pinching city revenues, limiting the city’s ability attend to its maintenance backlog.

Early voting begins Monday, and Reed said he’s now raising funds for a messaging campaign to reach those voters in the final critical weeks.

via Reed says traffic fixes will prompt yes vote on infrastructure |


Poll: Atlanta voters already sweet on a $250m bond referendum, side with APS in Beltline flap | Political Insider blog

The campaign for a $250 million bond referendum in Atlanta on March 17 hasn’t yet begun, but already voters are in a mood to approve it, according to a poll by Democratic political strategist Cabral Franklin. From his website:

The bond referendum is poised to pass and is popular throughout every demographic tested. In total 63% of voters are in favor of the referendum, 21% are opposed, and 15% are not sure or don’t have an opinion…

As you can see in the polling note below, Franklin also gauges Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s favorability rating at 58 percent, and puts Gov. Nathan Deal’s favorables at 36 percent.

via Poll: Atlanta voters already sweet on a $250m bond referendum, side with APS in Beltline flap | Political Insider blog.


Second poll paints an even rosier picture for Atlanta bond referendum and Kasim Reed | Political Insider blog

This morning, we pointed you to a modest, 400-respondent poll by Democratic strategist Cabral Franklin, which showed Atlanta voters already well-inclined (63 percent) to support a $250 million infrastructure bond referendum.

The vote is March 17, but the campaign hasn’t even begun.

The same poll placed Mayor Kasim Reed’s favorability rating at a respectable 58 percent.

But certain people are eager to let us know that the situation is actually rosier than that. We’ve been handed a poll commissioned by Citizens for Better Infrastructure, the group that will be running the bond campaign. It was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, the firm used both by Reed and President Barack Obama.

The survey sample is larger, and reports that 79 percent of Atlanta voters are inclined to support the bond referendum. Moreover, it puts Reed’s job approval rating at a heftier 72 percent.

via Second poll paints an even rosier picture for Atlanta bond referendum and Kasim Reed | Political Insider blog.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 23, 2015

The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act on February 22, 1766.

The first Georgia state law allowing divorce was signed on February 22, 1850 by Governor George Towns.

President elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington, DC on February 23, 1861.

The Cyclorama painting of the Battle of Atlanta went on display on Edgewood Avenue on February 22, 1892.


On February 23, 1945, United States Marines raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the Pacific island Iwo Jima.

This first flag-raising was photographed by Marine photographer Sgt. Louis R. Lowery. On Lowery’s way down Mt. Suribachi, he ran into AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and two other Marine photographers, PFC Bob Campbell and PFC Bill Genaust, who was shooting movies, informing them that the flag-raising they were looking for had already occurred, but encouraging them to check out the view from the top of the hill. The three men continued up the volcano.

Once atop Mt. Suribachi, Rosenthal attempted but was unable to find the soldiers involved in the first flag-raising, deciding instead to photograph the second flag-raising, which featured a much bigger and more photogenic Stars and Stripes. Lowery’s film was sent back to military headquarters for processing via ordinary army post–and took a month to arrive. Rosenthal’s film was sent by seaplane to Guam, and sent from there via radio-photo to the United States. The photograph so impressed President Roosevelt that he ordered the men pictured in it to return home for a publicity tour. Rosenthal later won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo, but for years was forced to deny erroneous reports that he personally staged the second flag-raising and attempted to pass it off as the original.

Although the famous photograph has long led people to believe that the flag-raising was a turning point in the fight for Iwo Jima, vicious fighting to control the island actually continued for 31 more days.

Today, the first and second flags flown atop Mt. Suribachi are held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.

On February 23, 1954, the first children in the U.S. were inoculated against polio using a vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

On February 22, 1976, a series of U.S. Postage stamps commemorating the Bicentennial was issued, featuring the state flags.


The Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge in Woodbury, Meriwether County, Georgia, was built in the 1840s and is the longest covered bridge in Georgia.

Red Oak Covered Bridge

The Meriwether County Courthouse in Greenville, Georgia, was completed in 1904, destroyed by fire in 1976, and reopened after renovation in 1980.

Meriwether CourthouseDSC_4632

My friend, William McKeen, is running for Meriwether County Commission in a Special Election to be held March 17, 2015.Continue Reading..