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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 11, 2016

Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded on May 11, 1864 at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, near Richmond.

On May 11, 2011, Newt Gingrich announced via Twitter that he would run for President. Two days later, I caught up with Newt at Fincher’s Barbecue in Macon for a brief interview the day he was scheduled to speak to the Georgia Republican Party State Convention.

Happy Birthday to Minnesota, which became a state on May 11, 1858. Y’all talk funny.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Well, I told you yesterday that campaigns are likely to get crazier before the May 24th Primary Elections, and yesterday brought it home.

Last night, after State Rep. Dustin Hightower (R-68) withdrew from the Primary in order to accept a seat on the Superior Court for the Coweta Circuit, the Georgia Republican Party State Committee voted to reopen qualifying in the GOP Primary election for House District 68. State Rep. Dustin Hightower withdrew from the election in order to accept an appointment to Superior Court for the Coweta Circuit, leaving no candidates qualified.

Qualifying will be Thursday. I don’t yet know the location, but suspect it will be at GAGOP headquarters, at 3110 Maple Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30305.

Candidates qualifying tomorrow will be on the ballot on election day only, May 24, 2016, and any early or absentee votes will not count.

That’s right, a twelve-day election.

Former State Rep. Tim Bearden had previously expressed an interest in the seat and is considered a favorite to win an election that will be decided almost entirely on existing name recognition. From Facebook, it appears that Villa Rica Mayor Jay Collins is likely to jump in the race as well.

If I were a candidate in that race, looking foward to an election night victory party on the Twelfth Night of my campaign, I might take inspiration from Shakespeare’s words, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them,” but as a voter I might seek guidance from the Bard’s other quote from the same play, “better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”

Dick Williams, writing in The Dunwoody Crier, notes that Tom Owens, a candidate for State House District 79 is deemed by the State Capitol Police to require an escort whenever he is allowed into the building.

Heading into the May 24 primary elections, one candidate for state House, Tom Owens, is so extreme that the state capitol police have given him the label of “Escorted Entry Only.”

Capitol police say that while no criminal warrants exist “at this time,” “please use caution.”

A similar tag hangs on Joe Newton, a political gadfly who accompanies Owens to many political events and has been seen placing signs accusing state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), of being responsible for bringing in thousands of refugees, including terrorists, into the state (Refugee resettlement is in the state budget as a pass-through of federal funds without state control).

Newton’s state capitol police alert orders “No unescorted entry.” The warning notes his several arrests and a conviction inn 1986 for 2nd degree Assault against Women in North Carolina, simple assault charges in South Carolina and a temporary protection order against him in DeKalb County. Newton’s capitol police citation allows only escorted access to the capitol and the legislative office buildings.

Owens, a Doraville resident who says he served in three wars, ran unsuccessfully for DeKalb County Commission. His brushes with the law are voluminous and include a stalking complaint in Forsyth County in 2006 for which he was arrested and sentenced to community service. He agreed to enter the Forsyth County state court diversion program, promised no contact with his victim and signed a statement admitting to “mental health issues involved.” He agreed to “cognitive skills counseling.”

The Doraville police have several reports of threatening behavior, harassment and the like from a citizen and a city councilman. Owens’ home backs up to a mosque and he has had near constant friction with the Muslims who worship there, once going to police to accuse the mosque of sacrificing animals.

Owens has sued the mosque over noise. Lawyers for the mosque say Owens threatened to kill its imam.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted an ethics complaint filed against Catherine Bernard, a candidate in House District 80 for the third time.

The Reporter Newspaper spoke to Catherine Bernard about the complaint,

A supporter of Meagan Hanson has filed an ethics complaint against Catherine Bernard alleging Bernard broke state campaign laws. The two are candidates in the May 24 Republican primary for House District 80.

“The whole thing is made up,” she said, accusing Kremer of “shenanigans.”

“This is a huge, annoying distraction,” she said.

She also accused Kremer of being one of the “smirking, useless frat boys in the Georgia Republican Party” who are damaging the country.

Here’s the thing: it’s fine to question the bona fides of someone filing an ethics complaint against your campaign. Heck, it’s almost mandatory. But to call fraternity members “useless” might be counter-productive. I’ve lived the last ten years in this district she seeks to represent, and I’d say the area has more greeks than Athens (Georgia). Besides, Will Kremer, though a friend of mine, is distinctly NF.

Finally, we come to hand-picked Democratic candidate for United States Senate Jim Barksdale.

The political newcomer embraces Bernie Sanders-like rhetoric about the hair-raising scourge of Wall Street. And he capped his message with a flourish of a fedora that, in his words, validates his outsider status.

I’m Jim Barksdale. I’m not a politician and I can prove it. I wear this hat.

I approve this message because most of all, I’ll stand against the crowd to ensure equal opportunities for all Americans.

And I’ll keep this hat, too.

That’s not a fedora, that’s a cap. A fedora has a brim that goes all the way around. Think Indiana Jones.


GAGOP Reopens Qualifying for House District 68

Last night, the Georgia Republican Party State Committee voted to reopen qualifying in the GOP Primary election for House District 68. State Rep. Dustin Hightower withdrew from the election in order to accept an appointment to Superior Court for the Coweta Circuit, leaving no candidates qualified.

Qualifying will be Thursday. I don’t yet know the location, but suspect it will be at GAGOP headquarters, at 3110 Maple Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30305.

Candidates qualifying tomorrow will be on the ballot on election day only, May 24, 2016, and any early or absentee votes will not count.

That’s right, a twelve-day election.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 10, 2016


Duke is an adult male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the City of Lyons Animal Shelter in Lyons, GA.

Duke is a shelter favorite–he is gentle, calm , friendly–beautiful—–well mannered — leash trained–and knows basic commands –a great dog!


Daisy is an adult female Dachshund and Corgi mix who is available for adoption from the City of Lyons Animal Shelter in Lyons, GA.

Daisy girl is not only precious but super sweet — gentle — and gives great kisses, according to the shelter.


Cole is an adult male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the City of Lyons Animal Shelter in Lyons, GA.

Cute, sweet, friendly, affectionate — and ready to play— a happy boy.


Teddy is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the City of Lyons Animal Shelter in Lyons, GA.

Teddy is a sweet boy — affectionate and smart.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 10, 2016

Savannah received news of the battle at Lexington on May 10, 1775, leading to a raid of British gunpowder for the colonial effort.

On May 10, 1863, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died a week after being shot at by his own troops.

He died, as he had wished, on the Sabbath, May 10, 1863, with these last words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

The first observance of Mother’s Day was May 10, 1908 at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

On May 10, 2006, Georgia State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, a Republican, pled guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering, beginning a streak of Republican State School Supers to leave office under a cloud.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today, we are two weeks from the Primary Elections, so we’ll look at some of the crazier elections out there. The top prize has to go to the Senate District 19 Republican Primary between Blake Tillery and former State Rep. Delvis Dutton.

The craziness got started in earnest with an April 15 column taking Tillery to task.

Earlier this week, in an even more tragic series of events, Toombs County Commission Chairman and State Senate candidate Blake Tillery was traveling in a vehicle when he fatally struck a bicyclist who was enroute to work in Vidalia Monday morning. The 44-year-old man left behind two children and a wife.

According to Georgia State Patrol, charges are pending against Tillery, ones that could be as serious as vehicular homicide to manslaughter. Even more horrifying: a wrongful death suit was filed against Tillery on Thursday and rumors have it that the family couldn’t even afford a proper burial, but Tillery was at Wayne Dasher’s Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner Thursday evening…campaigning. His campaign has shown no signs of slowing down or dropping out – even though a man is dead.

This isn’t about guilt, no, this is about how much a seat means to these people seeking public office – what people are willing to make others endure in order to serve.

Disclosure: is owned, in part, by Delvis Dutton who is also a candidate for State Senate. The article does not necessarily reflect his views and the author is an independent contractor of AllOnGeorgia. She has previously expressed support for Delvis Dutton’s Senate race.

A couple notable things about that column. First is that Delvis Dutton is part owner of the website, according to filings with the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. Second is that the writer was formerly employed by Dutton’s Congressional Campaign.

Another website, published a response to the AllOnGeorgia advertisement piece, titled Tillery Pilloried by Campaign Worker.

Szilagyi claimed the Georgia State Patrol confirmed charges are pending against Tillery, however, Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney Hayward Altman says no charges are pending.  A state patrol “Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team” is still investigating what happened, according to the District Attorney.

Dutton says he won’t disavow or approve what his campaign worker wrote,  but adds that he personally agrees with her position.

“I’m not going to disavow or approve anyone’s personal opinion, only I can speak for this campaign.  As for my (website) company, we do hire independent contractors and we do not censor them.  If you’re asking my personal opinion, I do believe there should have been more time between the untimely tragic accident and returning to the campaign trail,” Dutton said.

More recently, a new website appeared specifically to delve into the connection between Dutton’s website business and his campaign. The site has since been taken down, but Blake Tillery posted about it on Facebook:

About 30 minutes ago, my wife received an anonymous text directing her to a website that had negative things to say about one of my opponents in this Senate race. As someone who has been the victim of these same types of attacks, I DO NOT support them. I am not posting the site because I do not wish to drive any additional traffic to it. If this was one of my supporters, please stop.

There are 15 more days until Election Day and I’m very content to allow our friends to make a decision based on the issues and legitimate campaigning already done. There will be a time for comparing and contrasting the candidates and we will spend money on mail and radio doing so, but this isn’t how you do it.

Classy move. Since then, someone has gone truly bat guano crazy, dropping direct mail attacking incumbent Sen. Tommie Williams, whose retirement opened up this seat.

Two negative campaign flyers sent out on behalf of 19th Senatorial District candidate Delvis Dutton are untrue, according to State Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons whom Dutton is trying to succeed.

Williams has endorsed Dutton’s opponent, Toombs County Commission Chairman Blake Tillery.

One flyer claims Senator Williams declared bankruptcy before he ran for office more than 18 years ago.

“I have never been bankrupt in my life. I’ve paid everybody that I’ve ever owed any money to and I’ve been in business for 40 years and have never even contemplated bankruptcy. I’ve paid my taxes and paid my bills and I frankly don’t appreciate it. In an effort to build himself up, he thinks he’s got to put somebody else down. I’m not in the race, I’m retiring and this is really unusual,” Senator Williams said.

Another flyer regards the ongoing Georgia State Patrol investigation of a fatal accident involving Tillery last month. An entity calling itself “Citizens for a Better Georgia” sent the flyer out from 148 Williams Avenue in Lyons which is Senator Williams’ business address.

“This is a fictitious group and nobody knows who they are. The odd thing is that Delvis Dutton’s team used my return address as where this came from. I’ve got questions whether that’s mail fraud. I know nothing about this and it certainly didn’t come from me, I’m a supporter of Blake.

“This was an accident and the investigation has yet to be completed. To use this kind of thing goes to the point of what will you do to win,” the Senator said.

Senator Tommie Williams responded to the mailer on Facebook:

Today, I received a negative mail piece from Delvis Dutton to the 19th senate district.

He falsely claims that I declared bankruptcy and failed to pay back small business owners. I am not sure why he is attacking me since I am retiring, but just to clear up any confusion, I have never declared bankruptcy in the almost forty years I have been in business. I pay all my bills and taxes on time because, as a small business owner, I understand the importance of this.

Reputations are hard to earn and can take a life time to secure, and certainly no one wants to be discredited. But Jesus perfection shows me that we all have a reputation in some form. As a man I have many faults, but owing money is not one of them.

There is only one logical conclusion in this case about who is desperate enough to return to the General Assembly to engage in this kind of campaigning. I hope the people of South Georgia’s 19th Senate District will elect Blake Tillery to represent them. I know Blake Tillery to be a man of character, and I would be proud to vote for him if I was in his district.

The other crazy Senate race is taking place in Metro Atlanta, in the 21st Senate District, which includes parts of North Fulton and Cherokee Counties. Brandon Beach is probably the Senate incumbent most in danger of being defeated in a primary election this year. Beach has been an outspoken advocate of transit and the expansion of MARTA, which is an iffy proposition for North Fulton, but his district is dominated by the more ideologically-conservative Cherokee County, for whom MARTA expansion is anathema. Barlow is an outspoken opponent of legislation offered by Beach that would expand MARTA.

In this race, the craziness started after Beach sent a mailer claiming endorsements from several legislators whose districts either overlap or adjoin his. Several of the legislators depicted on the mailpiece publicly disavowed the claimed endorsements.

State Senator Brandon Beach sent out the mailer to constituents, naming 10 Cherokee County leaders that he said stand with him in his bid for re-election.

When asked if he heard his name was on the mailer, Georgia Senator Bruce Thompson said, “Not until after I had several people that called me and said, ‘Do you know that you endorsed Brandon Beach?’”

Our investigation found that not only did Thompson not endorse him, but neither did Georgia Representative Michael Caldwell.

“Senator Beach is a good friend of mine, but I didn’t endorse either candidate because I don’t intend to get involved in the race and I still don’t,” Caldwell said.

“I did not give permission for my name to be on any candidate’s piece,” Thompson added.

CBS46 called all 10 leaders mentioned in the mailer. Some did not respond. The mayor of Ball Ground and Canton said they didn’t know their name was on the mailer, but didn’t seem concerned. Only one said he endorsed Beach and that was Chairman of the Cherokee Commission Buzz Ahrens.

Beach responded to the accusations by saying Thompson said he “had his full support” and added that every person on the list made a commitment they were on board.

Since then, Beach has been airing a TV ad touting his record, and an endorsement by former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz. He’s called into question Aaron Barlow’s voting record, writing,

Unlike my opponent, I haven’t missed an election since I was 18. I simply believe protecting our values and the future of our community – and country – is too important to stay home on Election Day. While Aaron Barlow continues to spread lies about my record, one look at his voting history over the last decade tells you all you need to know about his priorities.

Beach also questioned Barlow’s residency commitment to the district in a forum earlier this season.

Beach accused Barlow of only moving to the state eight months ago and said the challenger’s ties to the community weren’t nearly as strong.

However, Barlow, who lists his residence as Milton, said he had lived in Georgia for 12 years and raised his family in the state.

Beach also notes that Barlow sent a negative mailer blaming Beach for T-SPLOST, which passed the legislature before Beach took office.

I got a good laugh out of the latest negative mailer from our friend from Chicago attacking me over TSPLOST. For starters, I wasn’t in office when TSPLOST passed. But the best part is that my opponent didn’t even vote in the TSPLOST election – just like he didn’t vote to defend Georgia’s Senate seat against Obama and liberal Michelle Nunn in 2014. I think we can all agree that we’re tired of politicians claiming they’ll fight for us, but never showing up when it matters most.

Barlow’s campaign also received a brushback pitch over a claim it made regarding legislation sponsored by Beach.

In a letter, Randy Evans, the attorney for Jackson Healthcare of Alpharetta warned Barlow that he was dallying with a slander suit for alleging that Jackson Healthcare and its CEO, Richard Jackson, were the sole entity behind Senate Bill 86, a measure sponsored by Beach and other Republicans that would have greatly curtailed malpractice lawsuits.

When his turn came to speak, Barlow said this:

“This particular legislation is a form of crony politics. The only serious supporter of this particular bill is an organization called Jackson Healthcare. It’s funded $100,000 in political contributions to my opponent and several other politicians….

“This bill benefits nobody except them….”

Jackson Healthcare’s attorney took exception:

“These statements are false and deceptive with actual knowledge. In addition, since neither Jackson nor Jackson Healthcare are public figures, the standard for imposition of liability is much lower than for public figures.”

Evans, as you know, is a member of the Republican National Committee and one of the most politically connected attorneys in Atlanta….

The Barlow camp pointed to the Beach campaign for the legal warning. “There is nothing to this besides bully tactics by the Beach campaign to try and shut Aaron up regarding his extensive campaign contributions from big business, particularly Jackson Healthcare,” said Barlow spokesman Andrew O’Shea.

We’ve only begun documenting the campaign craziness that is the 2016 Primary Elections. Over the course of the rest of the week, we’ll look at accusations flying in a judicial race, and a lawsuit by a political consultant against his own client. And in the meantime, as pressure in the election ratchets up, we’ll certainly see a higher level of crazy emerge.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 9, 2016


Navoo is an adult male Rat Terrier and Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from Rotts ‘n Pups Rescue in Douglasville, GA.

Navoo was found wondering aimlessly in the middle of the night at a gas station on a highway in rural Alabama where the attendant said he had been dumped about a week earlier.. He jumped into the car of a kind woman who had stopped for gas on her way back to Atlanta. He is very loving and craves attention. He is good with other dogs and children. If you are interested in giving this boy a forever home, please contact Diane at [email protected] or call 404-425-2044.


Jessie is a young female Rottweiler who is available for adoption from Rotts ‘n Pups Rescue in Douglasville, GA.

Jessie came from a high kill shelter in South Georgia where she was picked up as a stray. Jessie is about 15-18 months old and as sweet as can be. She’s totally house broken and will definitely sit for treats. She has wonderful manners and is a great girl all around. Rides well in the car, does well on a leash and loves to cuddle up on the couch. Jessie is on the smaller side, about 70 pounds. Lovely girl all around.


Kai is a 2-year old white female German Shepherd dog who is available for adoption through private placement in Douglasville, GA.

Kai is a registered dog. Kai is looking for a home because she has hip dysplasia (mild). She is good with children and other dogs. Dogs can live normal and healthy lives with hip dysplasia but need to be on a quality diet and most likely supplements as she ages. Please contact [email protected] for additional information or if you are interested in adopting. Kai is current on heartworm prevention, vaccines, and flea prevention.


Piper is a 2-year old female yellow Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Rotts ‘n Pups Rescue in Douglasville, GA.

My name is Piper. I’m a 22-month old purebred yellow lab with lots of energy! I am housebroken. I’m spayed, chipped and current on all vaccines. My favorite things are playing fetch, playing with other dogs and cuddling with my foster mom on the couch. My foster mom is also helping me with my manners. In my old home, I was confined to a crate for almost 15 hours every day. I would love to be part of an active family with another 4-legged friend to play with and have direct access to a fenced yard so I can run and play!


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 9, 2016

George Washington attended the first inaugural ball on May 7, 1789 on Broadway near Wall Street in New York.

Washington arrived at the ball in the company of other American statesmen and their wives. That evening he danced with many of New York’s society ladies. Vice President John Adams, members of Congress and visiting French and Spanish dignitaries, as well their wives and daughters, joined in the festivities. Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton, recorded her impressions of the ball in her memoirs, noting that the president liked to dance the minuet, a dance she thought was suited to his dignity and gravity.

Congress passed the second part of the Militia Act on May 8, 1792, requiring all able-bodied white male citizens to be enrolled in the militia.

A Constitutional Convention convened on May 8, 1798 in Louisville, Georgia to rewrite the state Constitution after the Yazoo Land Fraud.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in Augusta, Georgia on May 8, 1845.

On May 9, 1862, a Union general, David Hunter, ordered the freedom of all slaves held in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, but President Lincoln issued a counter-order.

May 7, 1864 saw some of the first fighting in the Atlanta campaign, northwest of Dalton, Georgia. On May 8, 1864, Union forces under Sherman continued to engage Confederates at the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge four miles west of Dalton, Georgia.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Army of the Potomac under Grant reached Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and found that Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had beaten them there from the Battle of the Wilderness.

Grant’s Army of the Potomac remained engaged against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House through May 21, 1864.

In Georgia on May 9, 1864, Union troops under General Sherman took Snake Creek Gap. In Atlanta, a notice was published,

“ATTENTION MILITIA! All persons between the ages of 16 and 60, not in the service of the Confederate States, in the second ward, are hereby notified to be and appear at the City Hall today, at 2 o’clock P.M., for the purpose of being armed and equipped for local defense. Herein fail not under penalty.”

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

On May 9, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary opened hearing on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

On May 9, 1977, the Grateful Dead played at Buffalo War Memorial Auditorium.

Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation designating the current state flag on May 8, 2003.

On May 9, 2005, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation recognizing the Green Tree Frog at the official state amphibian.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced on Friday that state revenues were up 3.3% over the previous year.

Georgia’s net tax collections for April totaled $2.07 billion, for an increase of $63.6 million, or 3.3 percent, over April 2015. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $17.34 billion, for an overall increase of $1.56 billion, or 9.9 percent, compared to April 2015, when net tax revenues totaled $15.78 billion.

Tonight, the League of Women Voters Carroll County-Carrollton will host a forum with at least 7 of 9 candidates for the Third Congressional District.

Monday’s forum which will be held at the Historic Carroll County Courthouse, 323 Newnan St., at 7 p.m. Carroll County Board of Commissioners Chairman Marty Smith said the site was chosen because it could easily accommodate an audience of about 200, the number Lyon believes may attend.

Confirmed to participate are Republicans Mike Crane of Coweta County, Drew Ferguson of West Point, Chip Flanegan of Jonesboro, Richard Mix, a former Carrollton resident now residing in Coweta County, Jim Pace of Peachtree City, Arnal “Rod” Thomas of Coweta County. Democrat Angela Pendley will also attend.

Lyon said that Democrat Tamarkus Cook of Newnan and Republican Sam Anders will not be attending the forum. Anders however, will send a representative who will participate in the introduction segment of the forum, but according to the forum rules, the representative may not participate in answering any questions from the audience.

“This will be the grand finale for our forum season as there aren’t any others planned before the primaries,” said Lyon. “We are pleased that we will have use of the restored Carroll County Courthouse in the old Superior Courtroom. It will certainly give us more seating than if we host it at the old commission chambers. We can’t put nearly as many people in that location. The candidates who are coming were all delighted to participate and will have a minute and a half to answer the same question. Yes, there are a lot of candidates but you will be surprised how much can be said in 90-second time frame.”

Candidates for the Ninth Congressional District will meet tonight at a forum in Gainesville.

The event is sponsored jointly by The Times and AccessWDUN. It runs from 6:30-8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Brenau Downtown Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville.

The event will also be broadcast live on WDUN AM550 and FM102.9, and streamed live on,, and the AccessWDUN smartphone app.

All five GOP candidates on the May 24 primary ballot are scheduled to attend: two-term incumbent Rep. Doug Collins and challengers Paul Broun, Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine and Mike Scupin.


Voters in Villa Rica heard about a Douglas County SPLOST that will affect part of the city.

A SPLOST referendum, while still in the planning stages, could have a potential impact on the 40 percent of Villa Rica residents who reside in Douglas County, as well as the rest of the county.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is doing its due diligence to determine not only if voters would support a SPLOST referendum on the November ballot, but also what citizens consider top priorities as to how a potential $160 million raised from a 1-cent sales tax over six years should be spent.

While there are a number of potential SPLOST projects on the table, Villa Rica residents in attendance at Thursday night’s meeting almost hands-down gave their support for funding of a county-wide 800 megahertz digital radio system that would bring Douglas County’s first responders up-to-par with the city of Douglasville and neighboring Carroll, Cobb, Paulding and Fulton Counties.

Villa Rica Mayor J. Collins, who was in attendance, called this “probably the most important thing for public safety for 911 response time and communications with other agencies.”

Based on population, if voters approved a SPLOST, Villa Rica could reap $6.75 million to fund various projects within the Douglas County segment of the city.

Drivers take note: you are now obliged to move over when you see utility workers on the side of the road if it’s safe to do so.

Local utility workers may be feeling a little bit safer following passage of a law that requires motorists to move over when they see linemen at work.

House Bill 767 was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal after near unanimous support from both houses of the Georgia Legislature. In two votes in the Georgia House of Representatives and one in the Georgia Senate, only a single “nay” vote was recorded.

HB 767 – known as the “Move Over for Linemen” law – “requires any motorist approaching utility linemen at an active work site – indicated by traffic cones or flashing yellow, amber, white or red lights – to change lanes or reduce speed to a reasonable and proper velocity below the posted limit,” Lott said.

A motorist who fails to change lanes or decrease speed may be fined up to $250 per incident. The new bill, effective July 1, applies to all types of utility workers, including electric, natural gas, cable and telecommunications personnel, as well as right-of-way crews and utility contractors.

Henry County Commissioners unveiled a $148 million budget for FY 2017 and are expected to adopt the budget on May 17th.

State Senator John Wilkinson and his opponent in the Republican Primary spoke to the Gainesville Times.

The outsider’s edge has been present in national races in recent years, and Benifield is as much frustrated with politics in Washington as politics in Atlanta.

“I’m for term limits,” Benfield said, adding that six years ought to be enough in elected office. “I think that’s the only way you can possibly get the corruption and special interest groups out of it.”

Benifield said he also is going after good ol’ boy politics, which he believes Wilkinson has become a part of.

Wilkinson said leadership comes with the territory when representing the region. After all, influence often follows growth, he said, and the growth is coming to Hall.

But despite the pull of statewide politics, Wilkinson said his focus remains local. And he’s banking on his experience.

“Really, what I try to do is focus on my strengths,” Wilkinson said. “I can assure you Hall County is an important part of my district for many reasons.”

Here’s my two cents on that race: I’d vote for John Wilkinson because his deep knowledge of agriculture makes him invaluable to Georgia as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. With Agriculture as Georgia’s largest industry, having leadership in the Senate who understands their needs and challeges is of great importance, probably doubly so if you’re from a district in which agriculture is an important part of the job base, such as his Northeast Georgia district.

University of Georgia professor Charles Bullock has some advice for Donald Trump on the verge of the GOP nomination for President.

“He needs to make nice with other Republicans,” said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock. “He needs to quit calling them names. He needs to apologize for some of the things he’s said in the past.

Bullock expects Trump’s attack dog mentality isn’t going away.

“We’ll continue to see the same kind of behavior, just a different target,” Bullock said.

Relationships with governors, plus U.S. senators and representatives are important in building a successful presidential campaign. Bullock said Trump lacks that built-in advantage that most nominees have.

“Part of his problem is until very recently he wasn’t a Republican,” Bullock said.

Bullock said Trump’s remarks on immigrants may encourage more minorities to get out and vote for the Democratic Party.

“Unless he can make major in-roads with women voters, it will be really hard for him to get elected,” Bullock said.

In Peach County this year, it’s possible to lose at the ballot box and still win the election.

Two Republican candidates’ names are on the May primary ballot for the at-large Peach County Commission seat, but only votes cast for Byron businessman Wade Yoder will count.

That’s because Brian Smisson, the finance director for the city of Fort Valley, withdrew from the race last month, said Marsha Gosier, interim elections supervisor for Peach County.

“He is a withdrawn candidate, and any votes cast for him do not count,” Gosier said.

Smisson submitted a signed affadavit withdrawing from the race April 18, Gosier said.

In the November general election, Yoder, 46, who owns a gym and tanning facility and a building storage business, will square off against Kattie Vinson Kendrick, 67, a retired civilian worker at Robins Air Force Base and the assistant treasurer for the Peach County Democratic Party.

Mark your calendars for the premier Republican Party event of the year, the Walton County Republican Party Barbecue on May 21, 2016.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 6, 2016


Cherry is a young female Plott Hound and Greyhound mix who is available for adoption from the Pixel Fund in Macon, GA. She weighs 35 pounds and is likely to top out around 40.

Cherry is her name and if you’ve wanted a dog who loves to be by your side she’s your girl! To see her run is grace, elegance, and athleticism at its canine finest. Able to reach speeds of up to 40mph, she will need a responsible owner to make sure she doesn’t get away – chances are you won’t catch her!

Cherry, your typical sighthound Velcro doggy, is also housebroken. Cherry will do for you what the cherry does for the hot fudge sundae . . . she’ll be the adorable, sweet addition that makes your life complete!

Droopys Sack

Droopys sack is a 7-year old, 74-pound male Greyhound who is available for adoption from Second Chance Greyhounds in Douglasville, GA. He has been training with a group of prison inmates and has his own blog.

Called Fitz, he is a very loving and mellow guy who just wants someone to love him.  In return you’ll get his unconditional love and trust.  His inmate trainer says that Fritz is the most gentle dog he’s ever met.

ww genuine risk

WW Genuine Risk is a 2.5-year old 52-pound female Greyhound who is available for adoption from Second Chance Greyhounds in Douglasville, GA. She has a track record that includes two wins, and her own blog!

She isn’t high maintenance at all.  She loves walks, bird watching, squirrel hunting, and especially chipmunk hunting.  These are her passions.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 6, 2016

On May 6, 1789, the Constitutional Convention in Augusta, Georgia adopted a new Georgia Constitution.

Jefferson Davis spoke in Savannah, Georgia on May 6, 1866.

Davis … defend[ed] the South’s cause in the Civil War, stating, “In 1776 the colonies acquired State sovereignty. They revolted from the mother country in a desperate struggle. That was the cause for which they fought. Is it a lost cause now? Never. Has Georgia lost the State sovereignty which … she won in 1776? No, a thousand times no.” Davis’s fiery remarks were captured by reporters for the New York Times and other northern newspapers.

Because of the national attention generated over his visit to Alabama and Georgia, Davis took a more conciliatory tone in a speech that evening, noting, “There are some who take it for granted that when I allude to State sovereignty I want to bring on another war. I am too old to fight again, and God knows I don’t want you to have the necessity of fighting again… . The celebration today is a link in the long chain of affection that binds you and the North together. Long may it be true.”

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute barrier for running the mile.

For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility. The world record for a mile was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds, set by Gunder Hagg of Sweden in 1945. Despite, or perhaps because of, the psychological mystique surrounding the four-minute barrier, several runners in the early 1950s dedicated themselves to being the first to cross into the three-minute zone.

At 6 p.m., the starting gun was fired. In a carefully planned race, Bannister was aided by Chris Brasher, a former Cambridge runner who acted as a pacemaker. For the first half-mile, Brasher led the field, with Bannister close behind, and then another runner took up the lead and reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 3 minutes 0.4 seconds, with Bannister at 3 minutes 0.7 seconds. Bannister took the lead with about 350 yards to go and passed an unofficial timekeeper at the 1,500-meter mark in 3 minutes 43 seconds, thus equaling the world’s record for that distance. Thereafter, Bannister threw in all his reserves and broke the tape in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. As soon as the first part of his score was announced–”three minutes…”–the crowd erupted in pandemonium.

A “sub-four” is still a notable time, but top international runners now routinely accomplish the feat. Because a mile is not a metric measurement, it is not a regular track event nor featured in the Olympics. It continues, however, to be run by many top runners as a glamour event.

On May 6, 1984, Spinal Tap played a “comeback show” at CBGB’s in New York.

On May 6, 1996, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta was the most dangerous city in America.

Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on May 6, 1997.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he is appointing State Rep. Dustin Hightower (R-68) as a Superior Court Judge for the Coweta Circuit. Because Hightower is the only candidate qualified for election to his State House seat, we will almost certainly see a Special Election there.Continue Reading..


Dustin Hightower appointed to Superior Court; Special Election ensues

Below is a press release from Governor Nathan Deal announcing that State Rep. Dustin Hightower will be appointed to Superior Court for the Coweta Judicial Circuit. Because Hightower is the only qualified candidates for State House District 68, we believe that will require a Special Election. Stay tuned….

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the appointments of Dustin W. Hightower to a Superior Court judgeship within the Coweta Judicial Circuit and Bradford L. Rigby as district attorney of the Cordele Judicial Circuit. The appointments will take effect upon swearing in.

The vacancy within the Coweta Judicial Circuit was created by the resignation of the Honorable A. Quillian Baldwin Jr. The Coweta Judicial Circuit is comprised of Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Meriwether and Troup Counties.

The vacancy within the Cordele Judicial Circuit was created by the resignation of the Honorable Denise Fachini. Ms. Fachini resigned in order to run for a Superior Court judgeship. The Cordele Judicial Circuit is comprised of Ben Hill, Crisp, Dooly and Wilcox Counties.

Dustin W. Hightower

Hightower is a partner at Miller & Hightower, Attorneys at Law, while also representing the 68th District in the Georgia House of Representatives. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia and a law degree from John Marshall Law School. He and his wife, Christina, have two children and reside in Carrollton.

Bradford L. Rigby

Rigby is the chief assistant district attorney from the Cordele Judicial Circuit. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and a law degree from the Lamar School of Law at the University of Mississippi. He previously served as a special assistant district attorney in the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and as an assistant district attorney in the Tifton Judicial Circuit. He resides in Cordele.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 5, 2016

Shorty Griffin

Shorty is a German Shepherd and Corgi mix who is available for adoption from the Griffin-Spalding Humane Society in Griffin, GA.

Shorty lost his home when his owner had a baby. He gets along with other dogs, but not with cats.


Mary is a young female German Shepherd dog who is available for adoption from the Henry County Humane Society McDonough, GA.

She is very smart and willing to learn. No small children please. Mary gets along well with dogs her size and slightly smaller. She needs a securely fenced yard to potty time.


Skyler is an adult female German Shepherd dog who is available for adoption from the Henry County Humane Society McDonough, GA.


Teta is a female German Shepherd dog and Greyhound mix who is available for adoption from Angel Dog Rescue, Inc. Georgetown, GA.