The blog.

2
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 2, 2016

Georgia delegates Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

On August 2, 1983, the United States House of Representatives voted to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday on the third monday in January.

President Barack Obama visited Georgia on August 2, 2010 – his first trip to Atlanta and second to Georgia after his election in November 2008. The occasion of his 2010 trip, like his trip to Atlanta yesterday, was to deliver a speech to the Disabled American Veterans Conference at the Hyatt Regency. From his 2010 speech:

As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.  Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31st, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule….

As agreed to with the Iraqi government, we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year.

At the same time, every American who has ever worn the uniform must also know this: Your country is going to take care of you when you come home. Our nation’s commitment to our veterans, to you and your families, is a sacred trust. And to me and my administration, upholding that trust is a moral obligation. It’s not just politics.

That’s why I’ve charged Secretary Shinseki with building a 21st century VA.  And that includes one of the largest percentage increases to the VA budget in the past 30 years. We are going to cut this deficit that we’ve got, and I’ve proposed a freeze on discretionary domestic spending. But what I have not frozen is the spending we need to keep our military strong, our country safe and our veterans secure. So we’re going to keep on making historic commitments to our veterans.

On Friday, Jenny Arthur will compete in Weightlifting in the 75kg division in the Rio Olympics.

Arthur, a 2012 Chestatee High graduate who will be competing in this summer’s Rio Olympics for Team USA in weightlifting, has five older sisters and a younger twin sister and brother, now ranging from ages 21-28.

Jenny, who mostly played softball and did track and field throughout school, began weightlifting as a way to get stronger for those sports. Those who saw her lift knew there was something special there.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections Today

As he did six years ago nearly to the day, President Obama came to Atlanta yesterday and delivered a speech to the Disabled American Veterans.

And we’ve come together to welcome our newest veterans into your ranks — from Desert Storm, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq — our proud 9/11 Generation.  This is a time of transition. When I came into office, we had nearly 180,000 American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Today, that number is less than 15,000.  Most of our troops have come home.

11Alive spoke with some veterans who attended the President’s speech.

[T]hey agree with the president’s assessment — too many disabled vets across the country are still waiting too long for medical care from the V.A.

“And it’s real tragic,” said Tony Daves, who is retired from the Air Force, lives in Louisiana, and sees it firsthand.

He works with veterans who are denied their medical benefits, can’t get care, and and can’t get their appeals heard for years.

“They’re starting to get old and die off,” Daves said.  “The appeals are taking three to five years to get completed.  It’s just jammed up and we need legislation from Congress to improve that.”

Joann Dickson-Smith said she still faces long waits for care.

While in Atlanta, President Obama also stopped by a $33,400 per person fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The Wall Street Journal notes it’s the President’s first fundraiser for Clinton.

The Atlanta event was hosted by Andy Prozes, the former chief executive of LexisNexis Group, and real-estate developer Laura Heery Prozes, according to a Clinton aide. Tickets to the event cost $33,400, and donors must give at least $66,800 to be listed as co-hosts and at least $100,000 to be co-chair. All funds will be directed to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint committee of the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

WABE News spoke to William Boone, a Clark Atlanta University political scientist about the latest media obsession burning question – whether Georgia will be in play at the Presidential level in November.

Watch to see if the campaigns buy ads here or send money to local groups, said William Boone, a political scientist at Clark Atlanta University.

It could indicate whether either side thinks the state is actually up for grabs.

He said to watch the campaigns, especially the Democrats, to see if they buy ads or send money here.

“If you see them begin to organize groups that say African-American youth for Hillary, or Latinos and Mexicans for Hillary, those are some indications that some money is coming in and that they’re trying to organize in some fashion,” Boone said.

But he cautions that Democrats could invest in Georgia as a way to bait Republicans into spreading out their resources.

“To at least give the appearance that they are here in Georgia and other states like Georgia to force the Republicans to fight a wider campaign and to place resources where they wouldn’t ordinarily,” Boone said.

On Sunday, Georgia’s senior United States Senator Johnny Isakson held a Q&A with the DAV and Veterans Administration Secretary Bob McDonald.

The pair also announced that the VA will be opening a new Veterans Crisis Line call center in Atlanta, Ga., bringing more than 200 jobs to the Atlanta area and contributing over $25 million to the local economy in its first year.

“There’s got to be reform at the VA,” said Isakson during Sunday’s panel discussion. “Veterans’ services have to be more accessible and seamless, and the Veterans First Act does that. One of the problems that VA leadership has had is the inability to affect change at the agency and have the type of accountability of the agency’s management that they really need. Under the Veterans First Act, senior management will be held accountable for the leadership that they give to the more than 300,000 other employees at the VA.”

The Veterans First Act expands the VA’s caregivers program, which allows veterans to receive care in their own homes from loved ones. It creates a pilot program to help veterans get a more expeditious answer on disability claims appeals. It also includes a number of measures to increase access to mental health care for veterans.

“The Veterans First Act is a major bill that contains 144 provisions, including many that were introduced in Congress by Republicans and Democrats,” Isakson continued. “It gives the secretary what he needs in terms of the hiring and firing authority of senior management; it gives veterans who served in wars prior to 9/11 to get the same caregiver benefits that post-9/11 veterans have had; it gives whistleblowers the protection they need to tell when something’s going wrong; and it gives the VA the clout to make a difference. We’re going to see to it that veterans get the services they need.”

“One of my top priorities as chairman has been to see to it that those in need of help for mental health services, particularly those at risk for taking their own lives by suicide, have instant access to the VA and the type of services they need to save their lives,” said Isakson. “They gave us everything when we needed it, and we owe the same thing to them. The call center that will be established in Atlanta later this year will see to it that every veteran, when they dial the phone, they get someone on the other end who knows what to tell them and how to advise them.”

Isakson spoke to his hometown newspaper, the Marietta Daily Journal, about his reelection campaign. It appears he answered three questions about Donald Trump without saying the words “Donald” or “Trump,” though that might be because of editing.

Q: Are you embracing the (Donald) Trump ticket, or worried what it could do to your race?

A: The most important thing Johnny Isakson can do is get Johnny Isakson re-elected to the United States Senate. That’s the first and foremost thing on my mind, and that’s why we’re out there today. I’m going to work hard for my ticket, I’m a loyal Republican, and I appreciate that, but my job is to remind the people of Georgia what I’ve done over the past years and what we’re going to do in the future.

Q: Worried about turnout or anything because of Trump?

A: I think this is going to be the largest turnout in the history of American politics this year. There is a palpable anger in the American public, both with Democrats and Republicans, against what some have called the ‘establishment,’ I think it’s the status quo. I think people are looking for change and someone who’s a change agent. I’ve demonstrated since my days in Cobb County, in the state Legislature, that I can be a change agent and I’ll continue to do that in the Senate.

Q: Have you endorsed Donald Trump?

A: I think it’s important to be for your ticket. If you’re an elected Republican, I think you have an obligation to be for your ticket. That doesn’t mean you’re blindly for your ticket, but it means you’re supportive of your ticket and you’re supportive of your party. (Trump is) a pro-business representative, he doesn’t like over-regulation, he wants a better tax policy — those are all things you’ve heard me say I believe in.

Dozens of prospective Georgia Supreme Court Justices are busy filling out applications for an appointment by Gov. Deal, according to the Fulton Daily Report.

With [just under] one week until the [July 8, 2016] deadline, more than 70 lawyers and judges have been nominated for two vacancies on the Georgia Supreme Court.

Among those nominated are several superior court judges from around the state and many members of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

“This governor has displayed a fondness for elevating sitting judges,” said appellate lawyer Darren Summerville. “There’s a likelihood he’ll look toward the Court of Appeals.”

Though not a judge, Patrise Perkins-Hooker, the Fulton County attorney and former general counsel of Atlanta Beltline Inc., is also in the mix. Perkins-Hooker was the first African-American lawyer to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. The high court currently has one woman and two African-American members, and the governor has taken considerable heat from those pressing for more diversity in his appointments.

Other notable figures on the list-in-progress include Court of Appeals Judges M. Yvette Miller and Nels Peterson; personal injury lawyer and mediator M. Gino Brogdon Sr., and DeKalb County State Court Judge Dax Lopez, whose nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia was blocked.

Court of Appeals Judge Nels Peterson’s writing style has garnered some attention from the Daily Report.

Consider these dramatic first lines from a decision Judge Nels Peterson wrote in July, reviving a lawsuit over a shooting in a Macon night spot:

“It is often said that ‘nothing good happens after midnight.’ …. As further support for this proposition, it was well after midnight when a masked man burst into the Shamrock bar and shot John Harrison in the arm. The masked man was never found.”

Such flourishes have become a trademark of Peterson’s decisions in his first months on the bench, and the state’s appellate bar is starting to take note. “It’s a different judicial style of writing,” said appellate lawyer J. Darren Summerville.

Asked about his writing style, Peterson said his goal is not to be entertaining but simply to be clear. He said he tries to avoid legal jargon, which can be “shorthand for things that you don’t fully understand.”

The exercise of putting legal concepts into “more normal language” creates clarity, he said. He uses “this case” instead of “the instant case,” for example. “The simpler the language you use, the more you have to understand what you’re doing,” he said.

He acknowledged that using simpler language is somewhat of a cultural departure in judicial writing. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was famous for his writing, but his style was much more formal. Peterson added: “Part of being clear is being interesting so that people can pay attention. I do try in my writing not to hide the ball—not to take folks on a 12-page journey of discovery.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will Co-Chair the National Association of Secretaries of State’s Standing Committee on Elections.

The Feds are auditing Augusta’s compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Lawrenceville City Council approved a $171 million budget for FY2017.

Robin Brown is the first candidate to qualify for the Special Election for Clermont Town Council.

Others interested in the seat can qualify at Town Hall, 109 King St., from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Candidates are required to live in Ward 1.

The fee is $43.20.

The winner will serve the rest of Thomas’ four-year term, or from Nov. 14 of this year through Dec. 31, 2019.

Pokemon Pundit

ElectaBuzz copy

State Representative and founding member of the Nerd Technology Caucus Buzz Brockway (R-Gwinnett) has successfully integrated his campaign into the Pokemon Go smartphone game that all the nerds cool kids are playing. There is a pokemon called “Electabuzz” and I’m totally not kidding about that.

On a serious note, consider how awesome it would be if someone could integrate Pokemon Go with one of the door-to-door apps that all the nerdy cool campaigns are using.

The Alpharetta Department of Public Safety has released an awesome video on safety while chasing Pokemon.

Savannah will host its first Pokemon Go Pub Crawl on Saturday.

While the event will get Pokémon enthusiasts together to combine the game with adult beverages, there’s also a charity aspect to the night.

“We will have 150 wristbands for sale and with the wristbands come with many drink specials at each establishment,” Anderson says. “We are as well donating $2 of the sale of each wristband and it will go to the Humane Society.”

Wristbands can be purchased at the beginning of the event or in advance at White Bluff Tattoo Company, 8110 White Bluff Road.

The pub crawl host offered a few tips to make for a successful night.

“Bring comfortable shoes and your phones fully charged,” Anderson says. “Get ready to drink, walk and have lots of fun. Don’t litter and respect landmarks, and did I say make sure your phones are fully charged?”

Those wishing to participate should meet at 9 PM at Ellis Square.

1
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 1, 2016

Black Magic

Black Magic is an adult male Black and Tan Coonhound who is available for adoption from Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA. He is a sweet boy with lots of life and love. He gets along with other dogs and kids.

Chase

Chase is a 2-4 year old male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA. He is very playful and energetic. He gets along with everyone at the shelter.

Charlotte

Charlotte is a 4-6 month old young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who currently weighs 12 pounds and is available for adoption from Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA. She is sweet and full of personality.

1
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 1, 2016

August 1 was a big day for Benjamin Mays – he was born on August 1, 1895 and became President of Morehouse College on August 1, 1936.

PT-109, commanded by LTJG John F. Kennedy was sunk on August 1, 1943.

On August 1, 1982, Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

PKGO Parking

Downtown traffic today will be affected by President Barack Obama’s attendance at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention at the Hyatt Regency.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., addresses the same convention today. He serves at the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Obama flies into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 1 p.m. and flies out at 4.

While in Atlanta, Obama will also attend a roundtable discussion hosted by the Democratic National Committee, following up on last week’s nominating convention in Philadelphia. Although he was last in Atlanta in March for a conference on prescription-drug abuse, this will be the first visit with politics on the agenda since the release of a poll showing Georgia is a tossup in this fall’s presidential election.

Georgia Democrats are expressing optimism and stressing their campaign organization, augmented by the president’s willingness to visit often.

“Our field program has expanded our presence across the state, placing dozens of boots on the ground and recruiting over 1,000 new volunteers ready to support our efforts,” said Michael Smith, spokesman for the state party. “Some of the strongest talent from traditional battleground states has signed on to help us build the field program.”

Obama’s presence strengthens factors Peach State Democrats already say are favoring them this year.

“It’s just the perfect storm,” Smith said. “Our party infrastructure is in place; Trump’s campaign is an unmitigated disaster, and a majority of Georgians are seeing that it takes a Democrat to move our state in the right direction.”

The AJC Political Insider, like a moth to the flame, can’t resist writing about the possibility that Georgia could go blue in November.Continue Reading..

29
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 29, 2016

Pixie

Pixie is a female, one of four little Terrier mix puppies who are available for adoption from the Humane Society of Harris County in Hamilton, GA.

Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly is a friendly and playful adult male Pit Bull Terrier mix male who is available for adoption from Manchester Animal Control in Manchester, GA.

Buster

Buster is a 3.5-year old adult Retriever & Welsh Corgi Mix who is available for adoption from Humane Society of Harris County in Hamilton, GA.

29
Jul

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

July 30th could be celebrated as the birthday of democracy in America, as the Virginia House of Burgesses became the first legislative body in the New World on July 30, 1619.

 Its first law, which, like all of its laws, would have to be approved by the London Company, required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made Sabbath observance mandatory.

On July 31, 1777, the Marquis de LaFayette was commissioned a Major General in the Continental Army, serving without pay.

The cornerstone for the first United States Mint was laid in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 31, 1792, becoming the first building constructed by the federal government under the Constitution.

Former President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded President Lincoln upon his assassination and oversaw much of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, died of a stroke in Tennessee on July 31, 1875.

On July 31, 1906, a bill to create place a Constitutional Amendment on the November election for voters to decide whether to create an intermediate-level Georgia Court of Appeals was approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his eighth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on July 29, 1927.

On July 30, 1931, Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. signed legislation merging Milton and Fulton Counties if voters in each county approved a referendum. Fulton had earlier merged with Campbell County, to the south.

Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautic and Space Admininistration (NASA) on July 29, 1958.

Actor Laurence Fishburn was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare, for seniors, and Medicaid for some low-income people on July 30, 1965.

The Doors’ “Light My Fire” became their first #1 hit on July 29, 1967.

Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in major league baseball history, won his 300th career game on July 31, 1990. During eight innings, Ryan threw 146 pitches, while today, many pitchers are pulled at around the 100-pitch count.

“In the old days throwing that many pitches was a normal game,” said Nolan Ryan, who tossed a record seven no-hitters and is the all-time leader in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched.

Ryan, currently the Rangers’ team president, is an outspoken detractor of the recent trend toward monitoring pitch counts. In a recent Sports Illustrated article, Ryan expressed his belief that today’s pitchers are “pampered” and that there is no reason why today’s pitchers cannot pitch as much as he and his colleagues did back in the day. As a result, Ryan is pushing his team’s pitchers to throw deeper into games and extend their arms further, emphasizing conditioning over what some would call coddling.

As Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux told SI: “This generation of players has become a creature of the pitch count. Their ceiling has been lowered. It’s up to us to jack it back up.”

Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive gold medal in the long jump at the Atlanta Olympics on July 29, 1996.

https://youtu.be/JuD1OdoXe9Q

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Hall County Commission candidate Troy Phillips and his wife, Heather, were found dead from gunshot wounds in their yesterday. Our prayers are with their friends and family.

Georgia’s statewide sales tax holiday for back-to-school items begins at midnight tonight and runs through midnight Sunday night.

Click here for more information, including a list of items that are exempt from sales tax this weekend.

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Douglas R. Woodruff of Ringgold as Solicitor General for Catoosa County State Court.

The next session of the Georgia legislature may see the removal of nursing licenses from the Secretary of State’s Office, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The Georgia Board of Nursing wants a divorce.

After years of poor communication, lingering resentments and suspicious maneuvering, the nurses want out of their long-term relationship with Secretary of State Brian Kemp. It’s been coming for a while, but Kemp’s sudden decision to remove the board’s executive director was the final straw.

When the board meet last week in Macon, the room was filled with nurses and nursing students from around the state. They were concerned about plans, revealed last month, to remove Executive Director Jim Cleghorn and replace him with the executive director of the board of cosmetology, which regulates nail salons among other things.

“We have outgrown the current organizational structure,” [board member Nancy] Barton, an administrator at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, said. “The type of communication — or lack thereof of communication and collaboration — with the board is negatively impacting the board’s ability to move the profession forward.”

State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) spoke to the Macon Telegraph about the Democratic National Convention.

Georgia state representative Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, said he has been to 10 Democratic National Conventions, and he has never seen as many Georgians on the main stage as he has this year.

Smyre said the Democratic message should not be anti-Trump but rather pro-America, focusing specifically on economic development and empowering Georgians to help each other as opposed to tearing each other down.

“If we can get some help, if we can get some resources, if we can get our activists and our community leaders up and going, we can win Georgia,” he said.

Smyre reinforced one of themes of the week: turning Georgia blue.

“This is a winnable campaign,” he said. “I want us to leave here fired up and know that we can put Georgia back in play. We can help elect the next president of the United States.”

Voter turnout in this week’s runoff elections reached 12 percent of eligible voters.

The [Secretary of State's] office called it a “low” turnout for what was the last election in Georgia before November, although not everyone needed to turn out.

Ninety-six of Georgia’s 159 counties had races on the ballot, which was required for all candidates who did not win outright two months ago during the state’s general primary — when about 20 percent of registered voters turned out.

David Beauboin took a look at Georgia runoff elections, noting several points:

Historically, in Georgia, the odds are against state legislative incumbents in runoffs, winning in only 5 out of 13 instances (38%) from 2008-2014.  Since this includes one very good year in 2012 (when incumbents won 3 out of 4 races), that means that incumbents in runoffs have done very badly in 4 of the last 5 election cycles, dating back to 2008.

[W]hat was surely heart-breaking about the losses by State Reps. Dickson and Yates was how close each man came to winning his primary outright in May.  Rep. Dickson finished first with 49.7% in his three-way primary, and missed getting a majority by only 16 votes.  Rep. Yates received 49.0% in May, falling just 51 votes shy of avoiding a runoff.  The subsequent losses on Tuesday by both men was indeed unprecedented.  From 2008-2014, five candidates had been forced into a runoff after receiving 49% or more in their primary – all 5 went on to win their runoff election.

Former Paulding County Commissioner David Carmichael will take office in January as the next Paulding County Commission Chair after winning the runoff election on Tuesday over Roger Leggett, also a former County Commissioner.

Carmichael said it was “a great honor to have people push the button” to vote for him.

He said the unpredictable nature of runoff elections made him unsure exactly why he was victorious. Runoffs typically draw very low voter interest and the winner typically is able to convince more core supporters than an opponent to return to the polls for a second election.

“It’s one of those things that you can never know who’s going to turn out. I think that a characteristic of a runoff is what voting bloc is going to come back,” Carmichael said.

Leggett attributed the loss to an effort that merely “didn’t work out.”

“It’s just one of those things,” he said.

Leggett, who estimated he campaigned door to door at thousands of residences, said it was “sad” that only 8 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the runoff. Only 14 percent voted in the May 24 primary.

“Either they didn’t care or didn’t care enough about the issues to go out and vote,” Leggett said.

Carmichael said he campaigned door to door at more than 2,000 residences countywide and found many county residents are “waking up” to an issue he campaigned on — the need to recruit new jobs-producing industries to the county.

Debbie Whitlock won reelection as a Stephens County Commissioner.

According to the final unofficial results, Whitlock received 861 votes, or 65.48 percent, to Yearwood’s 454 votes, or 34.52 percent.

Whitlock said she is happy to have the opportunity to continue serving on the county commission.

“It has been a great four years and I am really excited and humbled and honored to be able to serve another four years,” said Whitlock. “I love this community. I love our county. I love the people in it. Stephens County is made up of a lot of different people with a lot of different views and different needs and different desires and a lot of times it is really hard to make decisions because you are serving so many different types of people. I just do the best I can for the good of the county as a whole.”

Whitlock went on to thank Yearwood for running a clean campaign.

“Kenny has been a friend of mine since school, a very good friend, and I just love him,” said Whitlock. “I appreciate him. I was really excited to know he was interested in what was going on in the community and we need more people like that who care and want to make a difference and I hope to see more of him in the future.”

From AccessWDUN.com, runoff results in several North Georgia counties:

BANKS COUNTY – 13/13 precincts reporting

CORONER:
Bobby Eubanks (incumbent) – 482 (42.17%)
Mark Savage - 661 (57.83%)

PROBATE COURT JUDGE:
Keith Gardiner – 594 (50.04%)
Helen Hewell – 593 (49.96%)

LUMPKIN COUNTY – 7/7 precincts reporting

BOARD OF EDUCATION, DISTRICT 1:
Catherine Ariemma – 614 (30.43%)
Mera Turner – 1,404 (69.57%)

CORONER:
Amanda Jones – 393 (20.84%)
Jim Sheppard – 1,493 (79.16%)

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 2:
Bobby Mayfield – 1,399 (75.01%)
Steve Shaw (incumbent) – 466 (24.99%)

MADISON COUNTY – 12/12 precincts reporting

SHERIFF:
Michael Moore – 2,281 (52.78%)
Kip Thomas (incumbent) – 2,041 (47.22%)

COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIR:
John D. Scarborough – 2,583 (61.03%)
Stanley Thomas – 1,649 (38.97%)

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 1:
Lee Allen – 492 (57.75%)
Wayne Douglas – 360 (42.25%)

In White County, November General Elections voters will choose a new District 2 Board of Education member in a Special Election.

The Bibb County Board of Education tentatively approved a higher property tax millage rate for 2017.

Columbus City Council voted to allow local brew pubs to sell beer to go in growlers.

Councilor Skip Henderson, who is bringing the ordinance to Council, said it is in response to new state Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley’s interpretation of state law, which is that it allows brew pubs to sell their own wares in growler form.

“The ordinance is to bring it into alignment with the interpretation of the new state revenue commissioner,” Henderson said. “It just makes sense to me because it’s a growing cottage industry and a lot of millennials are interested in this. It allows them to do what a lot of craft beer stores do, fill up the growlers, seal them and let them take them home.”

Under the current local ordinance and the previous interpretation of state law, a brew pub would have to put its beer in kegs, have a licensed distributor pick it up, then bring it back to the pub (and charge for the transaction) before the pub could sell for off-premise consumption.

“The biggest difference will be the ability to sell all of our beers without first selling them to our wholesaler and then them selling them back to us,” said Melvin Baker, general manager of the Cannon. “In the end, it’s all about selling our product and making it as easy as possible for our customers.”

Power and Pokemon

Georgia Power will add significant amounts of solar energy to its portfolio over the next six years under a planning document approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Georgia regulators on Thursday approved a revised Georgia Power plan that will increase the utility’s use of solar and wind but also allow it to charge customers $99 million to investigate the feasibility and then license a new nuclear plant.

The Georgia Public Service Commission passed both measures 4-1.

“Adding renewables and nuclear together makes sense,” said Commissioner Tim Echols in a prepared statement. “I am committed to keeping rates low and energy plentiful, diverse and clean.”

The approved plan includes an additional 1,600 megawatts of renewable energy by 2021. That’s nearly triple what the company initially proposed and is enough to power about 250,000 homes.

Georgia Power also asked Pokemon Go players to stay safe while wandering around looking at their screens.

The power company said it has three simple safety tips for players caught up in the chase for Pikachu and virtual monsters.

First, stay away from electric wires, power poles, electric substations and power plants.

Second, do not enter private property, especially those protected by fences and warning signs. The company adds that trespassing on Georgia Power property is not only illegal but also potentially dangerous.

Finally, watch where you’re walking, including roads, bridges and parking lots.

Newnan City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting internet or cell phone games in the city’s cemeteries.

“We’ve had complaints of damage to a fence that is owned by private property that separates the cemetery and Charles Place,” said Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “We had some complaints of blocking roadways. We had some complaints of … actively running on and across the gravesites.”

Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows said in the last two weeks there were 50 people in the cemetery at one time. They were cleared out, and then another large crowd came in.

“People who were trying to get into visit a grave, from the street, couldn’t get … to the grave,” he added.

Additionally, Newnan Council member Ray DuBose said he had received a complaint about the gaming in the cemetery.

“This is an attempt … to specifically exclude gaming and internet play on cellphones and that type of activity in our cemeteries,” said Newnan Mayor Keith Brady about the ordinance change. “I have no problem at all with the game of Pokémon, how they play it and where they play it … other than in our cemeteries.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation entered into a data sharing agreement with Waze.

According to the DOT, the partnership provides real-time, anonymous, Waze-generated incident and slow-down information to the department directly from the source: drivers themselves.

In exchange, the Georgia DOT said it will provide real-time construction, crash and road closure data to Waze.

Officials said this will result in a succinct, thorough overview of current road conditions.

Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said this will give Georgia motorists real-time traffic information not only on our interstates and state routes, but also on arterial routes, information that is coming directly from the traveling public.

If you’re the owner of a Volkswagen diesel car that is covered by the recent court settlement, here’s how to start filing your claim.

Preacher Confesses to Faked Endorsement

Bishop Kenneth Adkins admitted to faking an endorsement in the Glynn County Commission District 2 election.

Bishop Kenneth Adkins said Thursday that he made up an endorsement he posted on Facebook at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, 15 minutes after polls opened. The post said that state Rep. Jeff Jones, R-St. Simons Island, had endorsed retired surgeon J. Peter Murphy in the Republican runoff for the District 2 seat on the Glynn County Commission.

His motivation was the unfairness of Jones’ actual endorsement of Murphy’s opponent, incumbent Dale Provenzano, Adkins said.

Adkins said “cut and pasted” images from Jones’ public Facebook page and his legislative page to create the endorsement.

Adkins said he didn’t ask Murphy or Jones for permission to make up the endorsement and that he was taking full responsibility for it all.

“I told a lie,’’ he said, but added, “Politics is lying and stretching the truth.”

For his part, Jones called it, “Dirty politics, shameful politics. I think Peter Murphy needs to be careful who he associates with.”

28
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 28, 2016

Sydney

Sydney is a 2-year old, 50 pound female Labrador Retriever & Shepherd Mix who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA. Sydney was rescued along with her seven puppies, some of whom are seen below. She’s a beautiful and loving dog and a great mom to her babies.

Rocky Bruce

Rocky Bruce is an 8-week old Labrador Retriever & Shepherd Mix male puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Charles Edward

Charles Edward is an 8-week old Labrador Retriever & Shepherd Mix male puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Billie Joe

Billie Joe is an 8-week old Labrador Retriever and Shepherd mix male puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Axel

Axel is a young male Coonhound puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Axel is smart and quickly learning the business of doing his business outside. Playful, snuggly, and happily alive, he is ready to be adopted! Axel is truly a baby, just 8 weeks old.

28
Jul

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

On July 28, 1868, United States Secretary of State William Seward proclaimed that the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution had been ratified and was now part of the Constitution. The first section of the 14th Amendment often forms the basis for litigation and reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Georgia initially rejected the 14th Amendment in 1866, later ratifying it on July 21, 1868 as a condition for readmission.

On July 28, 1978, Animal House was released, instantly becoming one of the greatest films of all time. In case you’ve never seen the film, there is a tiny little bit of adult language in the following clip.

On July 28, 1994, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating “The General” locomotive, which was stolen in 1862 during the Great Locomotive Chase. Today, The General may be viewed at The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last week, Governor Deal appointed Ray C. Smith to a judgeship in Bryan County State Court and Ronald C. Goulart as to Catoosa County State Court.

Deal spoke to new employees of the Hall County Public Schools, according to the Gainesville Times.

The “opportunity school district” would allow the state to take over “chronically failing districts,” which Deal said are districts that fail to “score above an F” for three or more consecutive years.

The governor portrayed the proposal as a way to break the links between inmates in state prisons and school dropouts. He said a study from when he first took office in 2011 showed that 70 percent of state inmates are dropouts.

Deal presented the constitutional amendment as a choice between the status quo in education and prisons or breaking the pattern — reducing the number of prisoners and the number of dropouts.

“I take offense at some with the educational system who are so opposed to doing something about this blight on education that they will be satisfied with the status quo,” Deal said.

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators and Georgia Association of Educators both oppose the constitutional amendment.

Peter Murphy won the Republican Primary Runoff for Glynn County Commission District 2 over incumbent Dale Provenzano.

“I am honored, and I am humbled, and I appreciate that all the people that believed in me came out and voted for me, and I can promise them that I will work as hard and as honestly as I can, not only for the island for but for Glynn County,” Murphy said.

Murphy took a healthy lead with 58.71 percent to Provenzano’s 41.29 percent, overcoming Provenzano by 17.42 percent. It constituted the largest gap of the three runoff races which also included Clerk of Superior Court and Glynn County Coroner.

That shakes out to 2,257 votes for Murphy and 1,587 votes for Provenzano.

“That is a significant victory, and I’d like to build on that momentum and convince the commissioners that I am here to cooperate with them and do right by the island,” Murphy said.

“The biggest point is, here I am a heart surgeon whose come down here for over 40 years, who has never been involved in politics with virtually no name recognition and I won 60-40. That’s very humbling,” Murphy said.

Here’s where it gets weird. After Murphy’s election, State Rep. Jeff Jones issued a statement that he never endorsed Murphy in the election.

Today we learned, that paid-staff working on behalf of now Commissioner-Elect Dr. Peter Murphy, created, distributed, and promoted fraudulent posts on Facebook, and may have sent other dishonest electronic communications designed to falsify an endorsement by Representative Jeff Jones of Dr. Peter Murphy.

To be very clear, Representative Jeff Jones never endorsed Dr. Peter Murphy period.

More from the Brunswick Business Journal,

Republican State Rep. Jeff Jones had endorsed Provenzano, a long-time political ally in the race who was seeking a second term.

But, through his representative, Jones is now concerned that there were ‘dirty tricks’ used to influence the election Tuesday.

On Monday, Rep. Jones sent out an email in clear support of Provenzano, with no mention of Murphy; it was also distributed to all of the local media in the region.  The Brunswick Business Journal received Rep. Jones’ first email on Monday evening, and then a second email at 4:00 p.m. on election day, reminding voters that the polls would close at 7:00 p.m.

According to Jones’ representative Jeffrey Sewell, owner of Sewell Consultancy who also serves as Jones’ Communications Director, the Rev. Kenneth Adkins, a local black pastor, posted the following message on his Facebook page at 7:15 a.m. election day.  It reads: “Wow. Just got a letter from Georgia State Representative Jeff Jones endorsing Dr Peter Murphy for Glynn County Commission, District 2, encompassing St. Simons Island. Thank You Sir. Everybody Please Go For Vote Dr. Peter Murphy Today!”

The post still appears on Adkins’s Facebook page (see Photo), and gives the clear impression that Rep. Jones was now endorsing Murphy over Provenzano.  Adkins also took the image of Jeff Jones’s campaign posters from the State Rep’s website and a picture of Jones’ family to add to the post to give the impression of its authenticity.

Sewell states that they are investigating the incident.  “I’m concerned that the election could have been affected to that degree.  Dale was working very hard, going door-to-door, doing everything you should do,” he said, in an interview today.

Matt Gurtler will take the State House seat formerly occupied by State Rep Stephen Allison after winning the runoff election in HD 8.

Gurtler took 49 percent of the vote in Rabun, but captured 62 percent of the vote in Towns, 75 percent in Union and 59 percent in White. In all, Gurtler won with 61 percent of the total vote.

Incumbent Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas was ousted in the Republican Primary by Michael Moore, who will take office in January.

In Henry County, Johnny Wilson beat incumbent District 1 County Commissioner Bo Moss in the Republican Primary Runoff and faces no opposition in November.

In Newton County, Democrat Marcello Banes won the Primary Runoff to advance to the November General Election against Republican Aaron Varner. For District 5 on the County Commission, Ronnie Cowan won the GOP Runoff and faces no opposition in November.

In Savannah’s Democratic Primary Runoff, Tabitha Odell beat incumbent District 5 County Commissioner Yusuf Shabazz to take office in January.

“I think the main focus with everything going on in the world, everything going on in the city, I want to work on team-playing, unity, a city of Savannahians and not individual pockets of people,” she said. “I think that’s very important.”

Speaking by phone as the final votes were tallied Tuesday, the commissioner-elect said she was excited with the outcome and ready to get started representing the district when the next term begins.

“I am thankful that we ran a cordial race, and I appreciate everyone that came out to vote for me,” Odell said. “And for those who did not vote, I appreciate the opportunity to show them … I will do my best for the entire district. Whether you supported me this time or not, I hope to earn your support over the next four years.”

In Bryan County, Don Montgomery won the runoff for Solicitor General and Karen Krupp won the election as vice chair of the Board of Education.

Montgomery topped Andrew Johnson with 54 percent of the vote (996 – 850); while Krupp came out on ahead garnering 56 percent (1,045-819).

Chuck Thaxton claimed a seat on the Polk County Commission representing District 2 after winning the Republican nomination with no Democrat on the November ballot.

Cathy Williams won the runoff for Muscogee County Board of Education District 7, while incumbent District 1 BOE member Pat Hugley Green retained her seat.

Ron Adams won the GOP runoff election for Glynn County Clerk of Courts, while Marc Neu takes the GOP nod to advance to the General Election for Coroner.

 

Three candidates will be on the November ballot for Mayor of Villa Rica – Jeff Reese, Sheikh Tijan Drammeh, and Issac J. Robinson – as will a quartet of candidates for an open Ward 4 City Council seat, Michael Nicholas Day, Michael Young, Gil McDougal, and Joey Kelley.

In Lula, Georgia, voters will decide whether to approve sale of liquor in restraurants.

The City Council voted Wednesday morning to place a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot asking voters of the Northeast Hall city if they favor being allowed to buy liquor at restaurants and other establishments.

The council also voted to not put on the ballot a separate referendum asking voters if they want liquor sales on Sunday.

“We don’t want Sunday sales,” Smith and Councilman Mordecai Wilson both said, almost at the same time.

Buying beer and wine at a restaurant or bar might be decided later by the council, City Manager Dennis Bergin said.

Currently, only beer and wine package sales are allowed in Lula Monday through Saturday.

While the state requires cities to get voter approval before allowing liquor sales, cities don’t need a referendum to allow on-premises beer and wine sales.

Council members have indicated they are awaiting the outcome of the Nov. 8 vote “before they take that issue up,” Bergin said.

27
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 27, 2016

Aries

Aries is a 3-year old, 30-pound, female Plott Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Dawson County Humane Society in Dawsonville, GA.

Aries is a fun little girl. She like to run and play and then army crawl up to what she wants to smell. She enjoys belly rubs and her ears scratched. She has plenty of energy for hiking and jogging or just playing with the kids in the back yard.

Blue

Blue is an adult male Australian Shepherd (Blue Heeler) mix who is available for adoption from the Dawson County Humane Society in Dawsonville, GA.

Blue is a perky Heeler mix who is looking for an energetic and outgoing family. He would be great to take hiking or early morning jogs. Give him a scratch behind his ears and you will be his best friend forever. He has only been with his brother (Buster) but seems to do a little better around other dogs then his brother. He can still be choosy with his friends so you would have to do a meet and greet.

Logan

Logan is a senior male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Dawson County Humane Society in Dawsonville, GA.

Logan gets along good with other dogs so a furbrother or sister would probably be great for him. He would rather be around his humans rather than being outside. He loves to be loved.

27
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 27, 2016

On July 27, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved the first impeachment article against President Richard M. Nixon.

The first such impeachment recommendation in more than a century, it charge[d] President Nixon with unlawful activities that formed a “course of conduct or plan” to obstruct the investigation of the Watergate break-in and to cover up other unlawful activities.

The vote was 27 to 11, with 6 of the committee’s 17 Republicans joining all 21 Democrats in voting to send the article to the House.

The majority included three conservative Southern Democrats and three conservative Republicans.

A bomb exploded at a free concert in Centennial Park in Atlanta on July 27, 1996.

Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the bomb exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that the law enforcement officers who descended on the park were indirectly targeted.

Within a few days, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. However, evidence against him was dubious at best, and in October he was fully cleared of all responsibility in the bombing.

Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller took the oath of office as United States Senator on July 27, 2000. Miller would go on to win a special election for the remainder of the term in November 2000.

On July 27, 2014, former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former White Sox player Frank Thomas, who was born in Columbus, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Our prayers go out to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman, who was in an auto accident yesterday, and to the unnamed driver in the other car who was flown to Grady.

I’m going to start this morning with the two biggest races on the ballot – Cobb County, where Chairman Tim Lee was sent packing, and the Third Congressional District, where former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson beat State Senator Mike Crane.Continue Reading..

26
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 26, 2016

Cassie

Cassie is a 3-4 year old female Beagle and Hound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA. Cassie’s family moved away without her and she waited a week for their return before being brought into the pound.

HenryBassador

Henry is a 2.5 year old, 45-pound male Labrador Retriever and Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

He is very sweet and friendly.

Pickles

Pickles is a 1.5 year old female Dachshund who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Pearl

Pearl is a 3-5 year old female Hound mix who weighs 42 pounds and is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.