The blog.

6
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 6, 2017

Piccolo

Piccolo is a young female Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

BearHSNG

Bear is a male Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Rebel

Rebel is a male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

6
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 6, 2017

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England for a voyage to America on September 6, 1620.

President William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901. He is buried in Canton, Ohio, not far from the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Alonzo Herndon founded the Atlanta Life Insurance Company on September 6, 1905, one of Georgia’s great success stories.

The first supermarket, a Piggly Wiggly, opened on September 6, 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee.

On September 6, 1941, Margaret Mitchell christened the cruiser USS Atlanta – Atlanta would later sink after being hit by 50 shells and a torpedo during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Summerhill Race Riot broke out in Atlanta on September 6, 1966.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter returned to the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, on September 6, 1976 to kick off the final phase of his presidential campaign.

On September 6, 2014, USS John Warner (SSN-785), a mighty Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, was christened at Newport News Shipbuilding. Big John calls Naval Station Norfolk its homeport. USS John Warner was commissioned on August 1, 2015 at Norfolk Naval Station.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued yet another Writ of Election, scheduling a November 7, 2017 Special Election in State House District 42, to fill the vacancy caused by Stacey Evans, who resigned in order to run for Governor.

“Citizen Newt,” an authorized biography of the former U.S. House Speaker, was released last week.

An authorized biography spanning two decades from the 1970s to the 1990s, “Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative” explores how Newt Gingrich, a twice-failed nominee to Georgia’s sixth district of the House of Representatives, rose in influence in American politics, becoming one of the most significant conservative politicians.

When Newt Gingrich became a representative of Georgia’s sixth district in 1979 – the first Republican to ever be elected there – he came on a platform of cleaning up the corruption reeking the political world. In doing so, with concurrence with fellow outsider Reagan, Gingrich rose to popularity, winning the next nine congressional elections.

In the span of 20 years, Gingrich went from outsider to Minority Whip, to coauthoring the Contract with America in 1994, a promise to the nation among the Republican Party congressmen.

“Newt’s influence on American politics has not waned over the decades,” [author Craig] Shirley said.  “He was instrumental both as an adviser to Donald Trump in 2016 and continues to define the political landscape through his books, op-eds, videos and media appearances.  Very few have been as successful.”

Cherokee County School District Superintendent Brian Hightower sent a message that employees should refrain from sharing political views after a teacher was seen upbraiding students for wearing “Make America Great Again” t-shirts.Continue Reading..

5
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 5, 2017

Layla

Layla is a young female Whippet puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Ark in Columbus, GA.

Carmen

Carmen is a young female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Ark in Columbus, GA. Though Carmen had a rough life, she is said to be an angel of a dog.

Carmen is a very calm and gentle soul that adores getting pets from her humans. Carmen is a very smart cookie and LOVES food puzzles and anything to keep her little brain busy. An ideal home for Carmen would have a loving family, a cozy dog bed, and lots of Kong toys and food puzzles top play with. She is now all healed up and ready for a forever home! Carmen has been a volunteer favorite for our outings program. Carmen has been on both sleep-overs and doggy dates.

Here’s what the shelter volunteers have to say: “Carmen is very curious and fascinated by everything around her. She LOVES walks, belly rubs, and running. During her sleep-over she didn’t bark at all, never jumped on furniture, or got into any mischief. She is a very sweet girl.”

Watson

Watson is a young male American Bulldog puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Ark in Columbus, GA.

5
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 5, 2017

On September 5, 1774, the Continental Congress convened for the first time at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia; delegates attended from all the colonies except Georgia.

heartofatlanta.digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu

The Heart of Atlanta Motel opened at 255 Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta on September 5, 1956. It included a three-story diving platform reached by spiral stairs and a pool large enough to hold a ski boat. African-Americans were not allowed at the Heart of Atlanta. [Photos © Georgia State University]

heart of atlanta pool.digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu

After passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in interstate commerce, the Heart of Atlanta’s owner sued the federal government, asserting that the Act was an overly broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The resulting decision by the United States Supreme Court upheld the Act, finding that Congress was within its authority to ban racial discrimination in businesses affecting interstate commerce.

Atlanta Time Machine has a webpage with interesting images of the Motel.

On September 5, 1969, United States Army Lieutenant William Calley was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. An Army inquiry listed 30 people who knew of the event and charges were filed against 14; Calley was the only conviction. Later, President Nixon paroled Calley. From 1975 to 2005 or 2006, Calley lived and worked in Columbus, Georgia, before moving to Atlanta. In 2009, Calley apologized for the events at My Lai while speaking to a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued a writ of election, scheduling a November 7, 2017 Special Election for House District 89, which was vacated by Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who is running for Governor in 2018. Gov. Deal previously issued writs of election for Special Elections on November 7, 2017 in House District 89 (formerly Stacey Abrams), House District 117 (formerly Regina Quick), and House District 119 (formerly Chuck Williams).

The Democratic/Media Outrage Machine continues to churn against State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine).

A coalition that includes the ACLU’s Georgia chapter and the Georgia NAACP issued a statement Thursday calling Spencer’s comments “dangerous” and called on House Speaker David Ralston to remove him from the Game, Fish & Parks committee.

“If Rep. Spencer keeps refusing to retract and apologize for his remarks,” the coalition said in a statement, “Georgia lawmakers should demand his resignation from the Georgia General Assembly.”

Both Democratic candidates for governor – state Rep. Stacey Evans and former state Rep. Stacey Abrams – have condemned Spencer. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said Spencer’s remarks were “worthy of censure.”

Some have also urged police involvement. Nita Chaudhary of UltraViolet, a women’s rights group, called on state law enforcement officials to investigate Spencer. And Vincent Fort, a former state senator who is running for Atlanta mayor, said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation should probe the comments.

“When I got a threat like that, I called the GBI,” he said. “That kind of threat warrants it.”

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus asked the GBI to investigate.

State Sen. Lester Jackson, the caucus chairman, said state Rep. Jason Spencer’s “behavior cannot and will not be accepted or tolerated” and urged the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to probe “the threat of physical violence ” from the lawmaker.

A GBI spokeswoman said the agency had not yet opened an investigation.

Conyers voters will get a sneak peek at what could be a new voting system for Georgia.

Express Vote machines will get a trial run in the Conyers mayoral race this November.

“The pilot program in November addresses some concerns that have been raised about the state’s machines,” says Dr. William Boone, a political science professor at Clark Atlanta University.

Rockdale County Elections Director Cynthia Welch told CBS46, “If all goes well, the state will probably ask for legislation where we can test the system statewide.”

“Here, you’re getting a verifiable trail,” says Boone. “So it does address a part of the problem. It is certainly an improvement over what presently exists.”

So far, from what he’s seen, Dr. Boone says the Express Vote system is moving Georgia in the right direction.

CBS46 has also learned that in the next couple of weeks, Rockdale County will be doing voter education and demonstrating the system in senior centers and nursing homes.

From the AJC:

“Purchasing a new voting system is no small matter,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office is coordinating the pilot program with Rockdale County election officials. “This is a large investment for Georgia, but voting technology has progressed to the point where I feel comfortable inviting a vendor to demonstrate to Georgians a system that could last us for many years to come.”

Atlanta Public Schools intends to issue up to $100 million in Tax Anticipation Notes – borrowing against expected property tax income.

Pat St. Claire, spokesperson for APS, has sent this statement from Lisa Bracken, chief financial officer for the school system:

“[B]ecause of the assessment freeze and the time it took for the Fulton county assessors’ office to recalculate and resend new notices, we are more than two months behind our typical millage rate process. As September represents a low point in cash flows for most public school districts, this delay required that we seek a tax anticipation note in order to meet expenditure requirements until taxes are received. We anticipate borrowing no more than $100 million.”

We’re told that APS was in the same situation last year, and ended up borrowing $75 million, at a cost of $147,000 or so. Any money from the new loan would have to be paid back by Dec. 31, 2017.

Candidates for Gainesville City Council may be discussing the city’s at-large voting system during their campaigns.

the city charter [requires] that “one councilmember shall be a resident of each ward.” Yet when it comes to electing a candidate the charter states: “The mayor and councilmembers shall be elected by a majority vote of the voters of the entire city of Gainesville voting in the election.”

“The at-large voting system requires that every member of the City Council is accountable to every single citizen in Gainesville,” the statement emphasized. “Instead of posturing for what is best for ‘our district’ we work together for what is best for the city of Gainesville. We believe that the voters should have a voice in choosing all five candidates at the polls, not just one.”

Incumbent George Wangeman faces two challengers in the election Nov. 7. One is former downtown restaurateur Albert Reeves, who previously served a four-year term on the Clermont Town Council. The other is Maria del Rosario Palacios, a young Mexican mother who holds a prominent position with the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.

Atlanta-based GALEO is a nonprofit group that advocates public policies beneficial to Latinos. GALEO members go into communities with large concentrations of Hispanics — such as parts of Gainesville — to register voters, and encourages them to participate in the process and seek public office.

Last year, GALEO filed a lawsuit against Gwinnett County to end at-large voting there.

GALEO also has had its share of run-ins with Gainesville city officials over the same issue, but has not taken the city to court over it.

The Voter Participation Center will begin a direct mail campaign to register new voters.

The Voter Participation Center, a non-partisan, nonprofit based out of Washington, D.C., announced this week that it will send thousands of voter registration applications to unregistered people of color, unmarried women and millennials in Georgia.

The group plans to send registration forms to 2.8 million potential voters in nine states this month, including 390,230 people in Georgia. The organization said 30.6 percent of voting age Georgia residents are not registered to vote.

More specifically, it said 40.1 percent of millennials, 33.1 percent of unmarried women and 31.2 percent of African-Americans are not registered to vote.

“Nationally, about 46 million people of color, unmarried women and millennials are not currently registered to vote,” Voter Participation Center President Page Gardner said in a statement. “In Georgia, 1.6 million of these historically under-represented citizens are unregistered.

The three demographic groups targeted by the Voter Participation Center are groups that are expected to see voter drop offs from the 2016 presidential election to next year’s election. The group said they makeup about two-thirds of the estimated 40 million voters who voted last year but are not expected to vote in 2018.

In Georgia, they said 790,000 millennials, unmarried women and people of color who voted in the presidential election are not expected to vote in either next year’s partisan primaries or the gubernatorial election.

Springfield Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby Barty Alderman was reelected without opposition.

No one qualified as a write-in candidate, so Springfield’s election Nov. 7 has been canceled.

After qualifying ended Aug. 25, two people were signed up for the mayor’s race in Rincon – incumbent Mayor Ken Lee and current council member Christi Ricker.

Incumbent council members Ann Daniel and Levi Scott Jr. will join newcomers Eric Brierton, Jerome Erwin, Kevin Exley and Patrick Kirkland in the competition for three council seats that currently are held by Daniel, Scott and Ricker.

In Guyton, incumbent alderman Michael Johnson will face Thomas Marshall Reiser for Post 4.

And Michael Gerwig, Joseph Lee and Quinton White will run for Post 3, which has been vacant since early 2016, when Ulysses Eaton moved from the area.

Dalton City Council is expected to adopt a property tax millage rate tonight.

The Dalton City Council is scheduled to set its 2017 tax rate when it meets tonight, and council members could authorize the Dalton Building Authority to issue $18.2 million in bonds for Dalton Public Schools.

The council has advertised that it will leave the city’s tax rate unchanged this year at 2.506 mills. But some council members say they are still considering rolling it back.

Because of the growth of the tax digest, the 2.506 mills rate would bring in more revenue, $8.76 million compared to $8.45 million last year, so it would be considered a tax increase under state law.

According to a city press release, a property owner with a homestead exemption with a fair market value of $150,000 would see its city tax payment rise approximately $9.80 if the rate is not rolled back, and a property with a fair market value of $350,000 without a homestead exemption would see its city tax increase approximately $24.50.

State Reps Allen Peake (R-Macon) and David Lucas (D-Macon) spoke the the Macon Telegraph about redistricting.

“My comments were more of sensing the frustration that most Americans seem to have that Congress is so polarizing; in particular, they can’t get anything done,” the Macon Republican said. “Some of that in my opinion is congressional districts being drawn to favor for Democrats or Republicans.

“You get those elected many times that are on the far right or far left, that may be so dogmatic in their political philosophies that they’ll never come to any consensus,” Peake said. “Seventy percent in America are left wondering why they can’t get anything done. I hear it at the grocery store, at the ballgames, at church, (that) people are mad and fed up and some of it is the result of the polarization of redistricting.”

Peake’s colleague on the opposite side of the political aisle, state Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, says Georgia legislators are able at times to work together across political lines. But it was a different result when Democrats were accused of gerrymandering in the past.

The process of setting up new district boundaries after census data is reported should not be as difficult as it is. Republicans have taken the practice to a new level, Lucas said.

“We drew lines and went to court and it was thrown out and Republicans took control,” he said. “They did the same thing we did, and when they did it the courts went along with it. Republicans drew lines that had less than 35 percent blacks in it and made it conservative, which meant it was going to be Republican regardless.”

State Rep. Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) and Senator John Albers (R-Roswell) were each named legislator of the year by the Georgia State Firefighters Association and the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs.

Roswell will hold qualifying this week for a special election in City Council Post 3.

Ellen Diehl announced she will run for State House District 81, currently held by Democratic State Rep. Scott Holcomb. I’m assuming she’ll run as a Republican.

Republican Matt Reeves, announced endorsements in his campaign for State Senate District 48, being vacated by David Shafer, who is running for Lt. Governor.

Johns Creek City Councilman Jay Lin, Gwinnett Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo, and Duluth City Councilman Greg Whitlock have joined a growing list of elected leaders supporting Matt Reeves in his campaign for State Senate District 48. Also, Columbia Engineering, on Buford Highway in Duluth, hosted a fundraiser for Matt Reeves’ State Senate campaign last week, and over fifty local small businesspeople contributed at the event. Notable donors were Whitlock, Bill Russell, Norwood Davis, and former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, who Matt worked for in college when he attended Mercer University in Macon and when Senator Chambliss was a Congressman in a competitive middle Georgia congressional district.  Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris and House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman headlined the fundraising event. Reeves has additional fundraising events planned over the next few weeks in Johns Creek and Sugarloaf. Reeves held a fundraising event at Arena Tavern in Duluth in June.

Recently, Reeves spoke at the Fulton County Republican party breakfast in Johns Creek, and launched a campaign Facebook page, and website, www.votemattreeves.com. Reeves is running on a platform of reducing the state income tax, keeping Georgia as a jobs leader through fiscal conservatism and prioritizing education and transportation, strengthening the family through making Georgia a leader in foster care and adoption, and re-creating Milton County in North Fulton.

Reeves previously announced the endorsement of Former Senator Dan Moody, Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason, State Representative Scott Hilton, and County Commissioner Jace Brooks. Reeves is running for the seat left open in 2018 by virtue of State Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer’s run for Lieutenant Governor.

1
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 1, 2017

Mario

Mario is a male Foxhound who is available for adoption from Pawsome Southern Rescue in Warner Robins, GA.

Mario is super sweet and dog friendly. He loves to play and is housebroke.

Midnight

Midnight is a male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pawsome Southern Rescue in Warner Robins, GA.

Deacon

Deacon is a male Shepherd or Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pawsome Southern Rescue in Warner Robins, GA.

1
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 1, 2017

On September 4, 1682, Edmund Halley first sighted the comet that bears his name.

The Stars and Stripes first flew in battle on September 3, 1776 at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware.

A fleet of 22 French ships arrived off the coast of Savannah on September 3, 1779 to help wrest control of the city from the British.

Scheduled steamship service first began on September 4, 1807, when Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began plying the trade on the Hudson River.

On September 3, 1862, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in Atlanta and within five miles of its border by the Confederate government. Two years later, September 3, 1864, General William T. Sherman would occupy Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor James Calhoun surrendered the city to federal forces on September 2, 1864.

Calhoun’s two-sentence letter, directed to Brig.-Gen. William Ward stated: “Sir: The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands. As mayor of the city I ask protection of non-combatants and private property.”

General William T. Sherman ordered all civilians out of Atlanta on September 4, 1864.

The Georgia General Assembly expelled 25 of 29 African-American members from the State House on September 3, 1868, arguing that Georgia’s constitution did not allow them to hold office.

The cornerstone of the Georgia State Capitol was laid on September 2, 1885.

The last hanging in Atlanta took place on September 1, 1922 outside the Fulton County jail.

Vince Dooley was born on September 4, 1932. Happy birthday, coach!

Anne Frank, age 15, and seven other Jews who were hiding together in Amsterdam were the last Dutch prisoners transported to Auschwitz on September 3, 1944.

Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out National Guard troops to prevent the desegregation under court order of Little Rock’s Central High School on September 4, 1957.

On September 5, 1969, United States Army Lieutenant William Calley was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. An Army inquiry listed 30 people who knew of the event and charges were filed against 14; Calley was the only conviction. Later, President Nixon paroled Calley. From 1975 to 2005 or 2006, Calley lived and worked in Columbus, Georgia, before moving to Atlanta. In 2009, Calley apologized for the events at My Lai while speaking to a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus.

Author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien died on September 2, 1973.

Having received the Democratic nomination for President, Jimmy Carter began the General Election with an address from his front porch in Plains, Georgia on September 3, 1976.

On September 1, 2004, United States Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat, spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday praised the announcement by Georgia Power that the company recommends completing reactors 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle.

“I’m extremely pleased to learn the co-owners of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 have recommended completion of construction,” said Deal. “Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities have made the right decision for our state. These new units will provide clean and affordable energy to Georgians for more than 60 years while creating 6,000 jobs during project construction and 800 well-paying, permanent ones after.”

The Oglethorpe Power Corporation Board of Directors also supports Georgia Power’s recommendation.

The Oglethorpe Power Corporation Board of Directors determined this week that it is in the best interest of the corporation to support Georgia Power Company, acting as the agent for the co-owners of Vogtle Units No. 3 and No. 4, and to proceed towards completion of the Vogtle Project.

“We believe we must take a long term view and recognize the benefits of fuel diversity and the price stability of emission-free nuclear power over the next 60 to 80 years,” Mike Smith, president and CEO, stated, “especially when considering the risks of carbon-based fuel volatility and the potential for carbon regulation.”

Oglethorpe Power owns a 30 percent share of Vogtle Units No. 3 and No. 4.

Oglethorpe Power is one of the nation’s largest power supply cooperatives with more than $10 billion in assets, serving 38 Electric Membership Corporations which, collectively, provide electricity to approximately 4.1 million Georgia residents.

Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta), whose district encompasses Voglte, released a statement,

“I am thankful for Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities’ continued investment in Plant Vogtle. More than 6,000 people in my district are employed by Plant Vogtle, where they are constructing two of the first new nuclear reactors in the United States in more than 30 years.”

“With today’s announcement, Georgia-12 continues to be at the forefront of nuclear energy expansion in the United States. In order to continue to be a dominant player in the global nuclear industry, invest in our own energy independence and provide clean, low cost energy to Georgians – it is vital to continue this project and I applaud the owners in making what I know was a tough decision. I will continue to do all I can to support these projects, because the future of nuclear energy in America depends on it.”

Waynesboro Mayor Greg Carswell is enthusiastic about continued construction at Plant Vogtle.

“I’m excited and happy. I tried to get my dad on the phone because my dad works out at Plant Vogtle. I wanted to make sure. I’m sure he’s aware of what’s going on, but I wanted to tell him myself. We are very excited for everyone,” Carswell said.

“It’s been up in the air, but people have really had confidence in Georgia Power. The company is a part of our community. People were not worried too much, but we knew that everything had to go through the process and procedures,” Carswell said.

Plant Vogtle employs more than 800 people at reactors 1 and 2.

Currently, there are more than 6,000 employees working on the construction of the two new nuclear reactors.

Once the job is finished, 800 more jobs will be created to monitor the facilities.

“They do a lot for our community. I can tell you that if Plant Vogtle and Georgia Power just disappeared from Waynesboro and Burke County, it would be like ghost town, if you will,” Carswell said.

Moody’s Investor Services released a statement on the Vogtle recommendation.

[C]ontinuation of the project will increase the utility’s business and operating risk profile because total costs are open ended and because Georgia Power’s parent company will be assuming construction risk on its balance, sheet.

Georgia Power’s rating outlook remains negative pending the review and approval of the utility’s recommendation and related conditions by the Georgia Public Service Commission, curther clarification of the project’s latest cost and schedule assumptions, the effect that the higher costs will have on Georgia Power’s financial metrics and leverage, and the impact that the conditions incorporated in the recommendation to the GPSC will have on the utility’s credit quality. We believe the decision to move forward has placed a material amount of additional negative pressure on the utility’s credit quality.

Georgia Power backed out of a planned solar farm in Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia Power pulled the plug at the last minute on its involvement in a solar project on East President Street. But the site will get a solar installation anyway, said developer Reed Dulany III.

“I was furious last night,” Dulany said Thursday. “Yesterday at 3:30 I got a call from three Georgia Power people saying ‘Hey, the project’s off.’”

Savannah City Council had been scheduled to vote Thursday on a contract related to the project, but that agenda item was pulled before the council meeting. The contract would have obligated the city to pay up to $100,000 of the estimated $350,000 needed to clear the site of vegetation and cap it with clean soil. The site’s current owner, Greenfield Environmental Trust, has already paid about $200,000 to ready the site in time for a Georgia Power imposed deadline of early September.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said the company “put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to fully review and consider that site.”

“In the end, it did not prove to be a suitable location because the high cost to construct the facility on the site exceeds the cost parameters outlined in the (Public Service) Commission’s order approving the program,” Kraft wrote in an email.

Gwinnett County’s Citizen Budget Review Panel is working on recommendations for the county commission.

“I always enjoy the budget process, it’s home base for me, and I look forward to our discussions as we try to make decisions on the proposed budget for the next year,” county commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash told the committee as the last presentation ended.

Kevin Danz was booted from the ballot for Gainesville Mayor after a judge ruled his qualification papers incomplete.

Kevin Danz turned in his papers Aug. 24 to run for mayor by filing late in the afternoon close to deadline.

However, Gainesville city officials announced the next day that Danz did not qualify because he left out information on the submitted form.

Danz went before Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller on Thursday and made his case to be qualified for the mayoral race.

Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey told The Times that Judge Fuller denied Danz’s decision.

Savannah City Council adopted a strategic plan to guide it through 2030.

The strategic plan is being implemented in conjunction with a government restructuring that includes the elimination of existing departments and creation of new ones, including an office devoted to developing the new arena and surrounding area, and to make government operations more conducive to achieving goals laid out in the plan.

In addition, the restructuring is meant to make city operations more efficient by combining similar services that had been separated across various departments, such as the grass cutting functions that are currently carried out by Park and Tree, Streets Maintenance, and Parks and Recreation.

The strategic plan and restructuring are the biggest initiatives [city manager Rob] Hernandez has administered since arriving in October, said Bret Bell, deputy assistant to the city manager.

Perry municipal elections are canceled because of no opposition to incumbent officials.

The terms of Mayor Jimmy Faircloth and three council members are expiring this year but no one qualified to run against them in November, so there won’t be an election. The same thing happened in 2013.

The city is scheduled for an election every two years but only one challenger has come forth in the past six years. That was in the 2015 election when Councilman Riley Hunt drew an opponent, and Hunt won. It was his first opposition in 12 years on the council.

The city will save at least $30,000 by not having to hold an election, [Mayor Jimmy] Faircloth said.

Two candidates for Mayor of Columbus in 2018 have announced.

Former Muscogee County School Board member Beth Harris filed earlier this week to raise money for her campaign.

Harris filed the Declaration of Intent on Monday, which allows her to start raising money. But she will have to qualify in March [2018] to officially run for the position, according to officials at the Elections and Registration Office.

So far, Harris is the only person to file the paperwork for the seat currently occupied by Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who is completing her last term.

Early voting will be held April 30-May 18 at the City Services Center. The election will be held on May 22.

Facebook was the preferred medium for newbie Charles Roberts.

“I am not sure how to go about declaring I am running for mayor, but I turned in my declaration of intent this morning,” he posted Wednesday on the Columbus, GA Concerned Citizens Forum Facebook page. “If anybody can point me in the direction I need to go to make an official announcement, it would be much (appreciated).”

The post generated a flurry of comments from Facebook friends — some offering advice, others questioning his qualifications.

“Um, just a suggestion…. If you want to be the Mayor of the third largest city in the state of Georgia, you might want to check out a book from the library related to Georgia civics and legal requirements for office….,” wrote the first person to comment.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson spoke in Valdosta this week.

Sen. Johnny Isakson said the nation is paying the price for the inaction of Congress.

“I’m not here to brag about the Congress of the United States of America. There is nothing to brag about,” Isakson said. “This has been a very unusual year. I’ve been in elected office for 38 years and I’ve been in Congress for 19, but I’ve never seen a year where we talked more and did less. And the country is paying the price for it.”

Isakson discussed a broad series of topics ranging from military funding and Moody Air Force Base, health care, tax reform and government inaction.

He said the military is running short of everything, but doing the best with what it has. The military is not as equipped as it should be if an emergency happens, he said. He mentioned that Moody Air Force Base has deployed personnel to east Texas to help rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“When you just don’t have enough manpower, enough material to make your military do what you’re asking it to do every single day, then you’ve got a big problem,” Isakson said.

Isakson then addressed health care. He said the most recent effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed because Congress couldn’t come together. He said too many people were trying to make a decision based purely on politics and not on what was best for the American people.

Health care needs to addressed, he said.

“It is an issue bigger than party lines. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. We’re all Americans,” Isakson said. “Diseases don’t have party lines. Everybody gets sick.”

He said government has a role in health care but so does the private sector. He advised listening to the health-care professionals and involving them in the debate. He also said health insurance should be more accessible for people.

“It’s not going to be cheap. The most expensive thing you can have is no insurance and a dreaded disease,” Isakson said.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp visited Dalton campaigning for Governor.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp says if voters want a blueprint for what his administration as governor would be like, all they have to do is look at the results within his department of the state government.

“I think that is the big difference between myself and the other people who are running is that I have a record of fundamentally reforming the secretary of state’s office, so people can trust me to do that as their governor,” Kemp, a Republican, said Thursday during a visit to Dalton. “We have absolutely reformed and restructured the whole agency to make it more efficient. We are doing more work for less money with less people, which is exactly what Republicans talk about.”

He said by embracing technology and making the business registrations and licensing handled by his office more computer friendly, the entire department has been streamlined, saving those who need the department’s services both time and money.

“Our system is literally saving the taxpayers millions of dollars,” Kemp said.

And even though he has been in the Senate and won two statewide races, Kemp says he still considers himself to be a political outsider.

“I ran for the state Senate the first time as an outsider and a small businessman frustrated with the government and really wanted to change it and bring a common-sense, business-owners mentality and fight for working Georgians,” he said. “That is what has driven me ever since.

“The biggest thing is I am not a career politician,” he said. “I am a businessman. I have been a businessman every single day I have been in office. That is the mentality I take in there. I am frustrated with government and I know the people are. I want them to know they will have a person literally fighting for them every day to make change and do what I promise them to do.”

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission continues to pursue former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

Former Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s years-long battle with the state ethics commission has taken yet another turn with a new complaint alleging that he illegally benefited personally from loans totaling $237,000 in leftover campaign money to his own law firm.

Oxendine, whose troubles with the commission began in 2009 when he was the front-runner in the race for governor, lost a bid in June to have previous campaign-finance-related ethics charges thrown out by the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Now his lawyer is fighting a subpoena for bank records related to the loan, which wasn’t disclosed until after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution raised questions about why Oxendine was holding onto more than $500,000 in leftover campaign money years after he’d left office. Under state law, candidates must return leftover money to donors or give it to charity. For the most part, Oxendine did neither, and he reported having $587,771 in his account as of Dec. 31, 2016, the last time he was required to file.

Oxendine’s campaign lawyer, Douglas Chalmers, said Georgia law states that campaigns can invest funds they raise. He noted that Oxendine’s campaign fund made almost $9,000 worth of interest on the loans.

“This (complaint) is just the latest development in an eight-year-old case in which the commission has harassed Mr. Oxendine,” he said. “What is costing the campaign money is the need to defend itself against baseless allegations such as the ones that have been pursued for the last eight years.”

State officials broke ground on a new judicial complex near the Capitol.

The new state courts building will house the newly expanded Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals with a commanding view of the Gold Dome across the street.

The complex, which is set to cost at least $105 million, was built on the spot where the Georgia Archives Building once rose. Nicknamed the White Ice Cube, the state tore down that building earlier this year to make way for the judicial center that courts officials have said was desperately needed.

At Thursday’s ceremony, Gov. Nathan Deal and a phalanx of judges and justices dug shovels into soggy ground to formally kick off the construction.

Tipplers can now buy beer and spirits at some breweries and distilleries, as a new law goes into effect today.

Let Georgia’s new happy hour begin: For the first time since Prohibition, local craft breweries and distilleries, beginning Friday, will be legally allowed to sell limited amounts of their beer and spirits directly to customers.

The new law ends a decades-old standoff that had been especially tense between the state’s growing number of craft brewers and beer wholesalers, who fought for years to protect their position as the middleman between manufacturers and retailers.

Infants are also among the victims of the opioid crisis in Georgia.

A local doctor is now telling us that during the last five years he has seen the number of infants born with opioid withdrawals nearly double.

“We’re looking at about one and a half to two percent of our babies admitted are admitted with a diagnosis of neonatal withdrawal syndrome,” says Doctor Mitch Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the director of the NICU at Coliseum Medical Center.

He says the withdrawal syndrome is caused by mothers who take opiates during pregnancy.

“Although that increase and the rate of rise is rather rapid, it’s still relatively low compared to the rest of the nation,” says Rodriguez.

According to a study done by JAMA Pediatrics, the number of newborns dependent on drugs in rural hospitals increased by more than 6 times the amount from 2004 to 2013, and in urban hospitals, the rate more than tripled.

31
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 31, 2017

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is offering discounted adoptions – $30 for dogs and puppies, $10 for cats.

Pen 222

Pen 222 is an eight-week old male Dachshund mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Pen 224

Pen 224 is a four-year old male Wirehaired Dachshund who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Pen187

Pen 187 is a three-month old male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Pen215

Pen 215 is a four-month old female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

31
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 31, 2017

On August 31, 1864, Confederates charged Union forces at the Battle of Jonesboro, in which the CSA suffered more than 1400 casualties in one hour.

On August 31, 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which this Senate had previously passed.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal outlined the state response to Hurricane Harvey.

“On behalf of all Georgians, Sandra and I continue to pray for the victims of Hurricane Harvey as they continue to suffer,” said Gov. Deal. “The devastating impact of this storm has yet to be fully realized, and we offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and communities affected by this disaster. As response and recovery efforts continue, the bravery and selflessness demonstrated by first responders and everyday citizens is nothing short of heroic. The kindness and courage of others acts shines light during the darkness faced by so many, and is a beacon of hope for all of us.”

“To those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, you are not alone. Georgia and the rest of the nation are with you. We have boots on the ground in Texas and teams working here to help coordinate response efforts and provide support. This multiagency initiative includes the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS), the Georgia Department of Defense (GA DoD) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). I stand ready to offer any further assistance or resources that may be needed as recovery operations continue.”

“Finally, I’ve taken steps to mitigate the effects that Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath will have on Georgia’s fuel supply. Earlier this week I applied for, and received, a fuel waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This waiver will help ensure our fuel supply remains uninterrupted. Further, I’ve issued an executive order waiving rules and regulations for truck drivers transporting motor fuel in Georgia, as well as for those carrying hurricane relief supplies. While recovery efforts continue and until normal operations resume, I urge the public to maintain regular consumption levels and travel schedules.”

GEMA/HS is coordinating with state and local partners and has offered Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the support of 75 Georgia personnel to assist in search and rescue efforts. The state is poised to deploy 50 members of the Georgia Search and Rescue task force and 25 members of Georgia Department of Natural Resources swift water teams.

At Gov. Deal’s authorization, the Savannah-based 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard yesterday deployed a C-130 H3 cargo aircraft and 15 personnel to aid in the emergency response efforts for the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. The crew first flew into Scott Air Force Base in Illinois to pick up disaster recovery pallets before mobilizing to provide relief support to Texas and the Texas National Guard. There have been no new requests for additional personnel or equipment.

Gov. Deal appointed a committee to investigate Spalding County Clerk of Courts Marcia Norris.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced he will join an amicus brief supporting the public display of the Ten Commandments.

Attorney General Chris Carr [] announced that Georgia recently joined a 23-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, which supports the City of Bloomfield, New Mexico’s decision to allow placement of a Ten Commandments monument on its city hall lawn along with other monuments. Earlier this year, a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit relied on the Establishment Clause to uphold a district court’s order to remove the monument. The brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

“The consistent application of our laws is paramount in maintaining the ideals of our democracy,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Georgia joined this coalition because we agree that the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence needs to be clarified, especially in this area. Local governments need clear guidance as they consider whether to authorize or maintain historical displays on government property.”

Depictions of the Ten Commandments appear on public property throughout the country and have been the subject of several notable lawsuits, including two that the U.S. Supreme Court resolved in 2005. Those decisions relied on different legal analyses to reach different outcomes, increasing confusion in lower courts about what the Establishment Clause prohibits and what it permits.

Gwinnett County has 147 vacancies in law enforcement jobs.

Recruitment and retention continue to be issues facing Gwinnett County law enforcement despite officials taking steps over the last year to make those positions more attractive.

Gwinnett Police Chief Butch Ayers and Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Boyd each raised concerns about the issue of attracting officers and deputies, and then keeping them from wanting to leave for someplace else.

In the police department’s case, there are about 105 vacant positions that officials are struggling to fill. Vacant positions in the Sheriff’s Office included 42 full-time deputy jobs, 16 full-time civilian employee positions and two part-time civilian posts.

Gwinnett County Public Schools has 178,811 students enrolled currently.

Gainesville City School Board held two meetings on raising the property tax millage rate and no residents spoke on the issue.

While the tentative rate is the same as last year at 6.85 mills, it would still mean a tax increase for 4,908 properties subject to school taxes, according to Steve Watson, chief appraiser for the Hall County Board of Assessors. The millage rate equals $1 of taxes on every $1,000 of taxable value.

The final public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the school district office located at 508 Oak St. in Gainesville. The board has scheduled a called meeting that night at 6:30 p.m. where it will likely have a final vote on the tax rate.

Valdosta School Board District 5 incumbent Trey Sherwood is unopposed after former Valdosta Superintendent Edward Martin Roesch withdrew his candidacy.

Tybee Island set a new record for sea turtle nests.

It was already a record year for loggerhead sea turtle nests on Tybee when another nest was discovered recently.

Those surprise hatchlings brought the nest count to 25, more than this five-mile stretch of beach has seen since record keeping started in 1988.

The previous record was 23 nests in 2012. Little Tybee is also having a good year with 16 nests. And the hatch rate on Tybee has been above average at 85 percent. With each nest holding upward of 100 eggs, that’s a lot of hatchlings.

Savannah City Council will vote on whether to move forward with approval of a Georgia Power-owned solar farm.

If the council agrees, the former Deptford Landfill site could by year’s end host a 1 megawatt solar farm with a pollinator garden growing beneath the ground-mounted solar panels. Georgia Power will own and operate the solar farm and ratepayers will be able to buy into it. The 7-acre farm would produce enough energy to power about 164 homes.

Hannah Solar won the bid to install the solar panels. Grant Tallon, Hannah’s Savannah business development manager, explained the concept of community solar in a letter to the city.

“‘Community Solar’ is defined as a solar-electric system that provides power and/or financial benefit to multiple community members,” he wrote. “This model allows residents and businesses to buy sections of a solar array from one central solar energy plant. The largest benefit being, Community Solar makes it possible for community member with too much shade or not enough roof space to take advantage of solar energy.”

Georgia utility regulators approved Georgia Power’s addition of new community solar last year. One megawatt is planned for Savannah and another 2 megawatts in Athens, according to the Georgia Power web site.

“We are continuing to work to determine the economic viability of locating a solar facility in Savannah as part of our Community Solar program,” said John Kraft, Georgia Power spokesman. “We have put in tremendous effort to review the particular site mentioned and we will continue communicating with the various local stakeholders during this process as a decision is made about a potential location for our forthcoming Community Solar site.”

The Columbus Mayor’s Commission on New Government and Judicial Building was presented with concepts for a new government center.

The Mayor’s Commission on New Government and Judicial Building is getting closer to making a recommendation to Columbus Council on what to do with the 46-year-old structure.

On Wednesday, architects presented members with three conceptual site studies to consider. Later, the group began making plans for a series of forums to seek public input.

Tomlinson said the commission plans to have four simultaneous public forums in about 10 to 14 days, which would give the city time to advertise the meetings. At the same time, the commission will be working on a rough draft of the report that will be submitted to council.

“And then we’re off to the races,” she said. “… I don’t want to make any promises, but I see this getting to council in the Octoberish timeframe.”

Four candidates for Columbus City Council filed paperwork to run.

Charmaine Crabb, a local realtor who helped lead a campaign against recent property tax increases, filed the “Declaration of Intent” on Aug. 24 for the District 5 council seat currently occupied by Councilor Mike Baker.

Waleisah Wilson, a local advocate for ex-felons, filed her paperwork the same day to run against Councilor Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson.

Also intending to run against Wilson is Jeremy Hobbs, director of Colgay Pride and LGBT Liaison for Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s Office. He filed his paperwork on Tuesday.

All odd number council seats are up for election this year. Hobbs, Crab and Wilson are the only three people to file DOIs for council positions.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis discussed a proposal to replace James Brown Arena.

Mayor Hardie Davis hailed a loosely-drawn proposal to replace James Brown Arena with a new facility at the former Regency Mall site as “visionary” during a Wednesday news conference while backers of a downtown location continued to scratch their heads.

The conference followed Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority’s 4-2 vote last week to reject a decision made a few days earlier by a site selection committee to keep the arena downtown and instead, acting on a letter produced by authority member Darren Smith, build at 1700 Gordon Highway, where the vacant mall stands.

Flanked by south Augusta politicians including Smith and his father, former city Commissioner Jimmy Smith, Davis said Wednesday the Regency site choice “takes our future into consideration” but won’t compromise downtown redevelopment.

“The James Brown Arena will do nothing more than open up SOGO,” Davis’ acronym for South of Gordon Highway, he said. While cyber-driven growth at Augusta University downtown shows the importance of Fort Gordon, “we now want to take that same level of momentum” and “send those efforts toward this area as well,” he said.

Polk County Commissioner Stefanie Drake Burford will step down today, as her family moves out of the county.

Retired Army Colonel Dennis Brown is running for Forsyth County Commission District 2.

“I’ve seen combat zones that had better planning than the current residential communities approved over the last few years by the county commission,” Brown said. “We need to protect what’s great about Forsyth. That means setting a mission and implementing a strategic plan to grow responsibly, shield schools from overcrowding and defend our conservative values.”

Brown retired after 30 years of service to our nation. He is a veteran and most recently served as Civil-Military Officer for Combined Joint Task Force “Phoenix” and then as Kabul Military Training Center Chief of Staff Mentor and Forward Operating Base “Alamo” Chief of Staff.

Currently, Brown teaches terrorism and homeland security part-time at Kennesaw State University, while working to obtain his Doctorate degree. He obtained his undergraduate degree from University of Alabama in human resource management and his MBA from Kennesaw State.

Brown has lived in Forsyth County for almost two decades, and is happily married to Suzy, a retired employee of the Forsyth County School System. They currently reside in South Forsyth and are the parents of two children, Lucia and Louie, and three grandchildren, Michael, Allaina and Matthew.

Democratic Party of Georgia Vice Chair Nikema Williams announced her campaign for State Senate District 39, which was vacated when Vincent Fort qualified to run for Mayor of Atlanta.

She’s likely to face primary opponents in the district, which has been in Democratic control for decades. Among the potential challengers is state Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas, who has served three separate stints in the House totaling about 18 years.

Georgia Power will today recommend to the Georgia Public Service Commission whether to continue construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has given Southern [Company] affiliate Georgia Power Co. a deadline of Thursday to make a recommendation on the project’s fate. If the utility wishes to continue the work, the PSC will have until the end of February to decide whether to let the project go forward.

The commission approved a resolution two weeks ago essentially endorsing completion of the project despite the huge price tag, nearly twice the origina[l] estimate when the construction of two additional nuclear reactors at the plant south of Augusta, Ga., was approved in 2009. The work also has fallen six years behind schedule.

If Georgia Power moves forward with the Vogtle expansion, the first of the two new reactors wouldn’t be completed until 2022, followed a year later by the second reactor unit.

UPDATE: Georgia Power recommends continuing construction of the nuclear reactors underway at Plant Vogtle. From the Press Release:

Georgia Power today filed a recommendation with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to continue construction of the Vogtle nuclear expansion near Augusta, Georgia. The project’s co-owners, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, all support the recommendation. The recommendation is based on the results of a comprehensive schedule, cost-to-complete and cancellation assessment. The Georgia PSC is expected to review the recommendation and make a decision regarding the future of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project as part of the 17th Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) proceeding.

“Completing the Vogtle 3 & 4 expansion will enable us to continue delivering clean, safe, affordable and reliable energy to millions of Georgians, both today and in the future,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “The two new units at Plant Vogtle will be in service for 60 to 80 years and will add another low-cost, carbon-free energy source to our already diverse fuel mix.”

Based on all factors considered, completing both units represents the most economic choice for customers and preserves the benefits of carbon-free, baseload generation. Assessments of the project included robust economic analyses; evaluation of various alternatives including abandoning one or both units or converting the units to gas-fired generation; and assumptions related to potential risks including future payments from Toshiba, availability of production tax credits and extension of loan guarantees from the Department of Energy (DOE). The latter two benefits were prescribed in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Georgia Power expects Vogtle Unit 3 will reach commercial operation in November 2021 and Unit 4 in November 2022. The total rate impact of the project remains less than the original estimate, after including anticipated customer benefits from federal production tax credits, interest savings from loan guarantees from the DOE and the fuel savings of nuclear energy. Once the project is on line, the company should still be able to offer retail rates below the national average with the additional long-term benefits from this new source of clean and reliable energy.

“Since the beginning of the Vogtle expansion, we have worked to minimize the impact of this critical project on customers’ monthly bills and, even as we assessed our options of whether or not to continue the project, our focus has been to ensure long-term value,” added Bowers. “Today, the total cost of electricity from Georgia Power is significantly below the national average, and when the project is completed, we expect that the new units will help keep energy bills competitive.”

Georgia Power, which owns 45.7 percent of the new units, has invested approximately $4.3 billion in capital costs in the project through June 2017 and estimates that its cost to complete the project is approximately $4.5 billion, for a total Georgia Power capital cost forecast of approximately $8.8 billion. The Georgia PSC has already approved $5.68 billion in capital costs for Georgia Power’s share of the project. With $1.7 billion in anticipated payments from Toshiba, the company’s potential additional capital costs are approximately $1.4 billion. Based on the new assessments, the total estimated capital cost forecast for 100 percent of the project is approximately $19 billion.

Georgia Power also announced today that it has contracted with global engineering, construction and project management firm Bechtel to manage daily construction efforts. Bechtel will work under the direction of Southern Nuclear, the Southern Company subsidiary which operates the existing units at Plant Vogtle.

“We have seen a marked increase in productivity throughout this year, with the best improvement being the most recent improvement, and our experience provides every indication that we can do a better job than Westinghouse alone as we move forward to complete the project,” said Bowers. “Since Southern Nuclear assumed control of the site from Westinghouse at the end of July, momentum has accelerated with a consistent focus on safe, high-quality construction. We expect this trend to continue with Bechtel.”

30
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 30, 2017

Khole

Khole is a female Basset Hound & Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County, Statesboro, GA.

LuckyStatesboro

Lucky is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Bulloch County Animal Shelter Statesboro, GA.

Latte

Latte is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Bulloch County Animal Shelter Statesboro, GA.

Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is discounting adoption fees to address overcrowding.

The shelter is full, meaning that animals who have been inside for a while could be in danger of euthanization to make room for new animals.

“The biggest concern is that we constantly take in more animals. We need to make space for the constant inflow,” said Cindy Wiemann, the division assistant manager for Gwinnett’s Animal Welfare and Enforcement.

To encourage adoption, shelter officials have extended their summer catapalooza adoption rates. Through September, new pet parents can adopt dogs and puppies for $30. Cats and kittens can be adopted for $10.

“This includes vaccinations, microchips and sterilization — that’s spaying or neutering,” Wiemann said.

Wiemann said medium and big dogs are in most urgent need of adoption right now. The shelter’s running out of pens that will fit them.

30
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 30, 2017

On August 30, 1888, Asa Griggs Candler bought one-third interest in the Coca-Cola company, bringing his total ownership to more than two-thirds of the company.

Georgia native Ty Cobb debuted with the Detroit Tigers on August 30, 1905.

On August 30, 1979, President Jimmy Carter reported being attacked by a rabbit near Plains, Georgia. Here’s an interview in which President Carter was asked about the rabbit incident.

Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell was indicted on August 30, 2004 on racketeering, bribery and wire fraud charges and would later plead guilty to tax evasion.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal has issued writs setting Special Elections for House District 89 (formerly Stacey Abrams), House District 117 (formerly Regina Quick), and House District 119 (formerly Chuck Williams). Those special elections will be held November 7, 2017, along with municipal elections in many jurisdictions.

Tom Lord became the first announced candidate for House District 119.

Local funeral home owner Tom Lord became the first person to announce his candidacy Tuesday to fill the State House of Representatives District 119 to be vacated by Chuck Williams.

A special election will be held in November to fill not only this seat, but the District 117 seat that became vacant when Rep. Regina Quick was appointed to a Western Judicial Circuit judgeship.

House District 119 includes a part of Clarke County and much of Oconee County.

A native of Athens, Lord currently lives in Oconee County, where both of his parents were raised. As a youth his family moved to Columbia County, but Lord said he moved back to Athens in 1977.

“I look forward to meeting with voters over the next few weeks to hear their concerns, learn what issues matter most to them and how I can work to find solutions,” Lord said in his official announcement.

“As a business owner, I appreciate the support of this community in years past,” he said, “and I look forward to earning your support and your vote in this new endeavor.”

Blake Fulenwider will be appointed Deputy Commissioner of Community Health and administer the state’s Medicaid program.

Frank W. Berry, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) announces the hire of Blake T. Fulenwider as Deputy Commissioner, Georgia Medicaid Chief, effective September 15, 2017. Fulenwider brings broad-based health care policy knowledge to his new role.

Prior to this appointment, Fulenwider was Partner and Georgia Director of Total Spectrum, a policy consulting practice that provided in-depth guidance to clients regarding federal and state-level legislative health care reform developments. He also worked directly with private sector clients and state officials throughout Georgia, providing critical policy analysis and guidance on a wide range of health care issues.

“Blake’s extensive background in health care policy and its implementation encompasses the experience we were looking for in filling this position,” said Berry. “With the changing landscape of health care, it was important that we bring someone on board who understands the intricacies of Medicaid; someone who can hit the ground running in making sure the agency is providing the best possible options for Georgians. I have the upmost confidence that Blake is that person, and look forward to working with him as he assumes this role.”

From 2006-2010, Fulenwider served with then-Congressman Nathan Deal handling health care policy issues in the Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Fulenwider has also held previous roles with the agency as Deputy Commissioner from 2011-2013, and was the Healthcare Reform Administrator with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget from 2013-2015, providing budget and policy support to the Governor, Chief Financial Officer and senior staff.

Fulenwider received his Bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

The French container ship CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt is expected to call on the Port of Savannah on Friday.

At 1,200-feet, the vessel is the length of four football fields placed end-to-end and can carry the equivalent of 14,400 20-foot-long cargo containers, or TEUs. That’s nearly 10 percent more than the COSCO Development, a huge ship that was the first to arrive here with a capacity of 10,000 TEUs or more.

The Port of Savannah is one of only four East Coast ports the Roosevelt will visit. After leaving Savannah, it will call on Charleston, then New York/New Jersey, where a four- year, $1.6 billion project to raise the Bayonne Bridge to 215 feet was recently completed, allowing pas

With the arrival of the latest Neopanamax ship Friday, the Port of Savannah will have served 13 vessels with capacities of 13,000-plus TEUs since the first call of the COSCO Development in May.

While it’s in port, the Georgia Ports Authority expects to complete approximately 4,500 container moves on and off the Roosevelt.

The Gwinnett County Board of Elections is asking for the budget to hold Sunday voting in 2018.

The elections office had two issues to address in their 2018 budget requests. One was compliance with a new federal mandate to provide assistance to non-English speaking voters. The other was avoiding a repeat of last November’s early voting issues when voters waited hours at the county’s main elections office to cast early votes in the presidential election.

Those two issues are at the core of three funding requests elections officials made to a citizens budget review committee on Tuesday. Officials want to add new employees to handle Voting Rights Act issues, add an extra week of early voting at Satellite polling locations and begin a half-day of Sunday voting.

“We’re trying to be proactive, and not reactive,” Elections Board Chairman Stephen Day told the committee.

the proposed addition of Sunday voting is another eye-catching request from elections officials. It would only be offered for six hours at the main elections office on the Sunday before the final week of early voting for the November 2018 general election.

It would cost the county $13,252 to do it, and make it one of the rare counties that offers voting on Sundays.

Hall County is watching Gwinnett’s experience with bilingual ballot information.

Hall County elections officials are closely monitoring the actions of cities in Gwinnett County that are scrambling to comply with providing voting materials in Spanish to the county’s large Hispanic population that comprehends little or no English.

Gwinnett municipalities holding local elections Nov. 7 are under the gun to get instructions, directions and ballots translated in time for the start of early voting Oct. 1., said Kim Wolfe, the clerk for the city of Buford.

Gwinnett County and its cities are compelled to provide language assistance to Hispanic residents under Section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Census Bureau determined late last year that Gwinnett County must comply based on demographic data showing that more than 5 percent or 10,000 citizens of voting age are members of a single-language minority.

In April, the Hall County Board of Elections and Voter Registration voted 2-1 to voluntarily comply with Section 203 of the VRA and not wait to be forced into compliance. The vote was taken along party lines at a time when the board had three members. Two Democrats voted in favor of providing bilingual ballots, and the lone Republican voted against it.