The blog.

25
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 25, 2017

Raisin

Raisin is a young female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Heart of Georgia Humane Society in Macon, GA.

Raisin is a shy little beagle who enjoys hanging out near you but not directly touching you. She thrives on the friendship of other dogs, and requires that her new family have another dog to be her friend. She is a typical beagle in that she can find a scent and follow it forever, so a secure fenced yard is required for potty time. Her adoption fee is $150. She’s about 1 year old.

Snuggles

Snuggles is a sweet female English Bulldog & Yellow Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Heart of Georgia Humane Society in Macon, GA.

Snuggles is a low key easy going 2 year old English bulldog/lab mix. Snuggles would do best as the only dog in the home but could possibly live with another dog given enough space. She loves her people and is an easy dog to live with.

Huffy

Huffy is a female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Heart of Georgia Humane Society in Macon, GA.

Huffy is good with anything and everything. She’s quiet and calm enough for an apartment but she also enjoys playing outside. She likes to cuddle in bed with you. She gets along fine with other dogs, cats and kids. She is about 6 years old. She’s spayed, up to date on shots and heartworm negative.

Coweta County Animal Control is offering free adoptions to reduce overcrowding.

For a limited time, any animal that has been at the shelter over 60 days can be adopted free of charge. At the time of adoption, animals are spayed or neutered, and receive dewormer and their first round of shots. They are also examined by a vet and receive a microchip that contains their information if they are ever lost.

Animals that have been at the shelter less than 60 days can be adopted for 50 percent off the standard adoption fee. With the discount, the adoption fee is $35 for cats and $63 for dogs.

The shelter will be open extended hours this Saturday. Normal hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m, with adoptions from 10 a.m.-noon. This Saturday, the shelter will be open until 2 p.m.

25
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 25, 2017

On August 25, 325, the Council of Nicea adopted the Nicene Creed.

On August 25, 1864, Union troops stopped artillery bombardment of Atlanta and withdrew from fortifications around the city. On the same day, in Virginia, Confederate forces attacked Federals under Gen. Grant at Ream’s Station.

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and fortifications outside Atlanta the previous day, U.S. General Sherman sent most of his forces westward around Atlanta and toward the south of the city. Sherman’s forces tore up 12 miles of railroad between Red Oak and Fairburn on August 29, 1864.

On August 25, 1877, delegates to the state Constitutional Convention approved a new post-Reconstruction state Constitution, the seventh in state history, to be submitted to the voters on December 5, 1877.

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Ratification took place on August 18, 1920, as the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted it, but adoption became official on August 26, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment. It reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The all-time highest score in a professional baseball game was recorded on August 25, 1922, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies by 26-23.

Advertising in the rights of way of state roads and placing signs on private property without the owner’s approval were prohibited in the first Georgia law regulating outdoor advertising, which was signed by Governor Richard Russell on August 27, 1931. Over the years, both practices would become enshrined in Peach State political strategy.

On August 26, 1939, the first televised major league baseball game aired, as the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds split a doubleheader in Ebbets Field.

Paris was liberated from German army control on August 25, 1944.

On August 25, 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered the seizure of the nation’s private railroads by executive order.

On August 26, 1961, the 718th Engineer Light Equipment Company of Fort Valley and the 210th Signal Base Depot Company of Augusta were called up to take part in the American response to the crisis in Berlin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for President by the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 26, 1964.

On August 26, 1965, Sonny & Cher were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Got You Babe’, the duo’s only UK No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term “babe,” as heard in Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’.

On August 25, 1973, the Allman Brothers of Macon, Georgia released “Ramblin’ Man” as the first single from the album “Brothers and Sisters.” From the Wall Street Journal,

Dickey Betts: In 1969, I was playing guitar in several rock bands that toured central Florida. Whenever I’d have trouble finding a place to stay, my friend Kenny Harwick would let me crash at his garage apartment for a few days in Sarasota. One day he asked me how I was doing with my music and said, “I bet you’re just tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best you can.”

Then one day in 1972, I was sitting in the kitchen of what we called the Big House in Macon, Ga.—where everyone in the band lived—and decided to finish the lyrics.

My inspiration was Hank Williams’s “Ramblin’ Man,” from 1951. His song and mine are completely different but I liked his mournful, minor-chord feel.

Except for Kenny’s line, the rest of the lyrics were autobiographical.

The WSJ article is worth reading in its entirety if you’re a fan of the Allmans.

Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox was nominated for President on the American Independent Party ticket on August 27, 1976, making the race probably the only one to ever feature two former Georgia governors. During the campaign, Maddox described Jimmy Carter as “the most dishonest man I ever met.”

On August 27, 1982, Oakland Athletics outfielder Rickey Henderson broke the record for stolen bases in a season, nabbing number 119 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Georgia Governor Zell Miller addressed the Democratic National Convention on August 27, 1996. In 2004, Miller would address the Republican National Convention, likely becoming the first Georgian to address both major parties’ national conventions. Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney also addressed the ’96 DNC. That day, President Bill Clinton signed a Welfare Reform bill, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

On August 27, 2008, Barack Obama became the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first African-American nominee of a major United States political party.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Margaret L. Spencer as a Judge in the State Court of Clayton County and Jeffery O. Monroe as Judge of the State Court of Bibb County.

This past Wednesday, Gov. Deal appointed Regina M. Quick as Judge of the Superior Court for the Western District of Georgia.

On Monday at 10 AM, Gov. Deal will unveil a new statue of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Capitol grounds.

Gov. Nathan Deal will be joined by members of the King family, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Rep. Calvin Smyre, Capitol Arts Standards Commission members and other dignitaries to unveil the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, Aug. 28, at 10 a.m. The event is open to the public and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

David Perdue Sandy Springs Chamber

Senator David Perdue spoke to the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

“It’s no secret Georgia is the best state to do business, and our state chambers deserve much credit for this success,” said Senator Perdue. “In order for Georgia to continue benefiting from pro-growth policies, Washington must work at a business-pace. President Trump has approached his new role with a business-like mindset and the results so far are nothing short of encouraging. While there is still a lot to do, I’m committed to advancing our Georgia priorities and getting government out of the way so we can unleash our full economic potential.”

“The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber was honored to have U.S. Senator David Perdue meet with the business leaders of Sandy Springs,” said Tom Mahaffey, President and CEO of the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber. “Our members were impressed with his candor regarding health care, infrastructure, debt crises, and immigration. We were encouraged to hear Senator Perdue say that while he believes Congress can do a much better job of working together across the aisle, there are bipartisan efforts happening now, especially at the committee level. Georgia is privileged to have an outsider and businessman like Senator Perdue representing our state in the U.S. Senate.”

Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta) co-hosted a forum on the region’s growth in Cyber Security.

U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Rick Allen, R-Ga., held the forum at the North Augusta Municipal Building.

As the post prepares to become the new home to U.S. Army Cyber Command by 2020, an estimated 4,000 soldiers and their families are expected to boost the area’s population.

Said Allen: “Obviously, education is going to be so important to what we can actually do economically with what’s been handed to us here.”

Brig. Gen. Joseph McGee is the U.S. Cyber Command’s deputy commander for operations. In a matter of months, he said, the post “is going to be the absolute center of gravity for all things cyber-related in the U.S. Army.”

Carmen Foskey, new Executive Director of the Georgia Republican Party, is profiled by the AJC Political Insider.

The new executive director of the Georgia GOP is a 21-year-old part-time college student who is already something of a legend in state Republican circles. She turned down her admission to an Ivy League school to help pull off a string of improbable GOP victories.

“I’m a keep-my-head-down kind of person who just lets my credentials speak for themselves,” she said. “I’m a firm believer that hard work beats strategy. It doesn’t matter how grand the strategy is, if there’s not someone there to execute it.”

Carmen will make us proud.

Augusta hosted a peaceful rally calling for the removal of a Confederate memorial.

Coweta County Commissioners voted 4-1 to raise the property tax millage rate.

The Muscogee County School Board will meet today at 5 PM to consider changing the millage rate ahead of expected revenue gains.

Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson will not run for reelection, stepping down after his term.

Norcross is one of two Gwinnett cities that won’t wrap up qualifying until Friday — Auburn is the other — but five-term Mayor Bucky Johnson told the Daily Post on Thursday that he won’t seek re-election, saying he was ready for a change after leading the city for 10 years.

“I’ve really enjoyed being mayor, but my wife has retired and I’m retired, and we have a new grandchild on the way,” Johnson said. “We also like to do a lot of traveling so it seemed like the right time to move on to another chapter in my life.”

Councilman Craig Newton is the only candidate who has so far qualified to run for mayor. If Newton remains unchallenged in the mayor’s race, he will have a clear path to become Gwinnett County’s only African-American mayor.

The changes in Norcross extend beyond the mayor’s office, though. Since Newton, whose seat was already up for election this year, is running for mayor, that leaves his council seat up for grabs. Meanwhile, Councilman Pierre Levy told the Daily Post that he too will not seek re-election.

So far, Chuck Paul and Hoyt Hutcheson are running for Newton’s seat while Daniel Watch and Thad Thompson are running for Levy’s seat.

Senoia Mayor Larry Owens is not running for reelection, and Council member Jeff Fisher is the only candidate to succeed him.

In Grantville, Sandra Luttrell, Dee Berry and Alan Wacaser are running for the Post 4 seat currently held by Leonard Gomez, who did not qualify for re-election. Barham Lundy, a former member of the Grantville City Council, is challenging Post 3 Councilman Mark King.

In Turin, Mayor Alan Starr is being challenged by Tony Crunkleton.

In Moreland, only one person, Jim Lane, qualified for the two council seats that are up for election. Unless someone qualifies as a certified write-in candidate, a special election will have to be held to fill that seat. Mayor Dick Ford is unopposed for re-election.

Will Byington is running for Rome School Board, after being appointed in 2016.

In Hall County, the Mayors of Clermont, Flowery Branch, and Lula all drew opposition.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller … is being challenged by Michael Justice, who has made a couple of unsuccessful runs at a city council seat.

Two challengers in Lula — Jim Grier and Felton Wood — will attempt to end the 16-year hold on power by Mayor Milton Turner. Grier is a Lula businessman and civic leader making his first attempt at elective office. Wood made an unsuccessful run for Lula City Council in 2015.

Also getting tested is Clermont Mayor Jim Nix, who is being challenged by Steve Reeves. Meanwhile [Clermont City Council] incumbents Margaret Merritt and Kristi Crumpton are not running, leaving newcomers to take their seats.

 

24
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Politics for August 24, 2017

Wallie

Wallie is a 9-year old male Brittany Spaniel who is available for adoption from the National Brittany Rescue & Adoption Network in Greenville, GA.

Hi! Wallie here.

I am a 9 year old who found myself taken to a shelter because my owner was going to college and decided she didn’t need me anymore. Thank goodness the wonderful people at NBRAN found out about me and picked me up!

I am very healthy, in fact I’m a little bit over weight. I’m UTD on my vaccines, HW negative and super friendly. I am good with other dogs and cats are an unknown. When I was at the vet for my check up they found out I have a very mild form of something called Laryngeal Paralysis. My foster mom says it is barely noticeable now that I am happy at her house. Because of this it has been recommended that I be adopted in a Northern cooler climate to keep me healthy.

I am such an amazing boy and will make a great companion, don’t let my age fool you. I love to play and hunt the laser pointer as long as you will play with me. Did you say squeaky ball? I have one and it is my favorite toy! Car rides?? Oh Yes Please!!! Did I mention I am house trained, walk well on a leash, sit for treats, and don’t jump on the furniture. I am a submissive boy and when bedtime comes I am happy to sleep in my bed on the floor next to you in your bed. Do I have any negative issues? Yes, just one sadly. I have some mild toy aggression, but my foster mom is working on it. Please don’t let that be a deal breaker though. One last thing, the children in the neighbor just love me, so I guess that means I am good with children also.

Skid

Skid is a 4-year old, 32-pound male Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Harris County in Hamilton, GA.

I am definitely a scent hound which means my nose rules! I will follow it anywhere even if it gets me in to trouble. Last July I followed my nose right into the path of an oncoming car. That was a very painful experience! It caused something called a ‘fractured pelvis.’ It has healed up nicely and I do really well with walking, running and jumping but I will need to be on joint supplements for life to help me stay active.

My foster mom says I have an awesome personality. I love people and like it best when I can always be with my humans. I really like other dogs! I don’t live with cats, but I find the one at my vet’s office fascinating! I am crate trained, but still working on my housebreaking. My foster mom says I am very smart! I love my foster mom and foster siblings, but I really need a forever home hopefully with another doggie sibling or siblings to play with and a human family I can love forever and ever!

Kanga

Kanga is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Harris County in Hamilton, GA.

Zeus

Zeus is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Harris County in Hamilton, GA.

24
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 24, 2017

General Charles Lee of the Continental Army told Congress that Georgia’s value to the young nation required more forces to defend against the British on August 24, 1776.

On August 24, 1931, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution appointing a committee to work with the Governor in planning a bicentennial celebration to be held in 1933.

On August 24, 1945, the United States Postal Service held a first day of issue ceremony in Warm Springs, Georgia for the release of a stamp bearing the images of Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Little White House.

FDR Warm Springs

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal said he expects legislators to address issues related to Confederate monuments and street names in 2018.

“I think they will do a pretty in depth look into whether or not we should continue to restrict local jurisdictions – counties and cities – in terms of what they may want to consider in their areas,” he told [AJC reporter] Rhonda Cook. “It’s an issue I’m sure is going to be before the General Assembly in January.”

He’s referring to a compromise struck during the debate to remove the Rebel emblem from the Georgia flag that makes it illegal for anyone to “deface, defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, remove, conceal or obscure” any Confederate memorial without authority.

Deal wouldn’t say where he stood on the debate.

“There are many facets of it,” said the governor. “The one that’s got the most attention lately has been the prohibition on local governments being able to make independent decisions about monuments and flags within their jurisdictions. I think they will give it a serious look.”

Gwinnett Technical College has begun training technicians for Mercedes-Benz.

When Mercedes-Benz began moving its headquarters to Sandy Springs in 2015, it was logical to test out a college program at Gwinnett Tech.

So Mercedes-Benz USA began investing in everything the school would need to educate promising technicians. It created opportunities for each student to intern with a local dealership. The company also helped create the cohort’s own MBUSA classroom, complete with dealerships signature emblem on its back wall.

The students also have their own garage, stuffed full with Mercedes-Benz vehicles they can use to get hands-on practice.

Because of Mercedes-Benz’s need for qualified technicians, all 25 of them are virtually guaranteed jobs upon graduation. Their starting salaries could be about $50,000. And [MBUSA supervisor of technician recruitment Robert] Tomlin said there’s room for more training and to move up.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) toured the Chatham County jail to learn about the number of mental health patients housed there.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, got an “eye-opening ” look at one of Chatham County’s largest health mental institutions this week as he toured the Chatham County jail.

“I really want to thank the sheriff and his staff for this very sobering experience,” he said. “I can tell you that this is real life, and we are doing a disservice to those who are mentally ill that we are throwing in our jails and that’s not where they need to be.”

At the heart of the issue is the costly and ineffective cycle of arresting mentally ill patients who commit minor crimes, treating and releasing them, only to arrest them again for the same crime, Wilcher said at a news conference Wednesday.

“We need a facility in this county that we can take people and offer them medications if they are arrested on misdemeanor charges,” he said. “I know the police department has a job to do — every police department in this county does. But they arrested a girl Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for criminal trespassing. She is a mental health person. We let her out of jail and she goes back to that same house (where she’s trespassing) because she thinks she lives there.”

Wilcher and Carter are looking for alternatives to cut costs while safely housing inmates with mental illness. It costs taxpayers about $70 per day per inmate, according to the sheriff. And with the help of Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, and County Commissioner Helen Stone, Wilcher said he thinks progress is finally being made.

“I’ve been trying to get this done for over 30 years and I think that it’s finally coming to head with the help of these people,” he said. “Are we going to get it all done in a day? No. Are we going to try? Yes.”

Carter said he is co-sponsoring a bill with Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., to address mental health-related issues including funding for necessary facilities.

State Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) was named 2017 Policy Maker of the Year by the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education (GACTE).

“Career, technical and agricultural education (CTAE) programs are all essential in thoroughly preparing Georgia’s students for future success,” said Rep. Coomer. “GACTE is a tremendous organization that advocates for the advancement of these programs, which are critical in equipping Georgia’s next generation of workers. I’m honored to receive this prestigious recognition, and I look forward to continuing my work in furthering educational and career opportunities for all Georgians.”

The Policy Maker of the Year Award is given annually to legislators who have made a significant contribution to career, technical, and agricultural education (CTAE).

“Representative Coomer was selected to receive this award because of his strong support of our CTAE programs as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives,” said GACTE Executive Director Matthew Gambill. “He has contributed to the success of CTAE programs during his time serving as a member of the Georgia House.”

Forsyth County Commissioners voted against a proposal to raise their pay by 25 percent.

The board voted 3-0 Aug. 17, with Chairman Todd Levent absent and the newly vacated District 2 seat open, to deny a resolution approved last month that would give board members an increase in compensation.

The proposed compensation was for an annual salary for the chair of $49,500 and an annual salary for other board members at $48,000.

It would have represented a $10,000 increase from the base salary for board members, with the chair receiving a slightly higher salary due to added duties.

Elections

Republican candidates for 2018 statewide elections are paying attention to rural Georgia.

With the vote more than a year away, candidates have already crisscrossed the plains of South Georgia and the mountains of the north with a pledge to deliver the goods: more reliable Internet connectivity, new economic development initiatives, better infrastructure and improved access to health care.

In the opening months of the race, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp have made the bulk of their campaign stops far from metro Atlanta, from tours jotting through small towns near the Tennessee line to fish fries in farming communities.

They are using President Donald Trump as something of a muse. The Republican won a comfortable 5-point victory in Georgia despite losing much of Atlanta’s suburbs, including the GOP strongholds of Cobb and Gwinnett counties, because he notched huge margins in smaller, rural counties.

“The precedent has been set and they’re all here,” said Clint Hood, an agricultural banker in Milledgeville. “I feel like our needs are really getting heard. Atlanta has always been the spoke of the wheel, but rural Georgia has put our state on the map. And the candidates are showing they realize that.”

With the collapse of the GOP health care overhaul, rural leaders are also pushing gubernatorial candidates to consider changes that could open the spigots for more federal dollars. Several officials talked about seeking waivers to implement what could be vast changes to the state’s Medicaid program but wouldn’t involve a formal expansion of the program.

All four GOP candidates signaled they were open to waivers, and at an event Tuesday with small businessmen on the outskirts of Tifton, Kemp spoke about finding new ways to prevent rural towns from “drying up” without sparking a city-vs.-farms divide.

“If we can help focus attention on rural areas, it’s going to be good for the whole state — the ports, the airport, Home Depot,” he said. “It’s not us against them.”

“As places like Cobb and Gwinnett turn purple, metro Atlanta becomes break-even or even a loss for GOP nominees,” said Bryce Johnson, a Tifton attorney and Republican organizer. “Rural Georgia is where the GOP has to win statewide elections now and these candidates realize they have to build the ground game here early.”

Democratic candidates for Governor Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans both appeared at an event in Columbus.

The goal for the meet and greet was to get citizens in Muscogee County involved in the democratic process.

“It’s important so that the Muscogee County Democrats can get on board early, can get ready for the election that’s coming up in 2018. We’ve got the elected Governor and we want to paint the state blue,” said Saundra Ellison, Chairman of the Muscogee County Democratic Party.

Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves resigned his office to run for Mayor of Atlanta, setting up a countywide special election.

Eaves, who has led the county since 2007, left office with a year and four months remaining in his third term. In a letter to Vice Chairman Bob Ellis announcing his resignation, Eaves said he was saddened to close that chapter in his life but excited about the prospect of becoming mayor.

Two people — former County Commissioner Robb Pitts and Sandy Springs City Councilman Gabriel Sterling — have already announced they intend to run for Eaves’ seat, which will be on the ballot in November. Pitts said he thinks the county needs a stronger leader who is proactive, while Sterling said the county’s next leader needs to “right-size” government to respond to the number of new cities.

State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) also qualified for Mayor and a special election will be held to fill his Senate seat.

State Rep. Regina Quick (R-Athens) is expected to be nominated for a Superior Court seat in the Western Judicial Circuit. Houston Gaines and Doug McKillip have both announced they will run for Quick’s state house seat.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections and Registrations scheduled a Special Election for Commission District 2 for November 7th, the same day as municipal election.

Rick Swope announced his resignation from the post last week, having accepted a position with E*TRADE that has strict limits on public service, according to the county.

Qualifying for the special election begins next Wednesday, August 30 and runs through Friday, September 1, according to Luth.  The hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to noon on Friday.

The runoff date, if needed, is Tuesday, December 5.

Canton will host two contested City Council elections in November.

Incumbents Bill Grant of Ward 2, Sandy McGrew of Ward 1 and John Rust of Ward 3 all qualified to seek another four-year term on the City Council. Grant will be challenged by former City Clerk Susan Stanton while Rust will face off against resident Nick Estes.

Stanton was Canton’s city clerk for about five years until April when the City Council voted to terminate her employment.

Along with the city’s election, voters countywide will consider renewing the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST. If approved, Cherokee County and each of its cities will get funding to carry out various capital improvement projects.

An Alpharetta City Council open seat drew two candidates.

The qualifying period for the municipal elections ended late Wednesday afternoon, and only one seat on the City Council will result in a race. Incumbent Mike Kennedy did not qualify to seek re-election, so contenders Ben Burnett and Ben Easterling will duke it out for the Post 2 seat.

Incumbents Don Mitchell of Post 1 and Chris Owens of Post 3 will not face challengers this year.

Burnett, a member of the city’s Planning Commission, said he’s running to give Alpharetta homeowners a “stronger voice in the future of their community.”

“My biggest concern is that Alpharetta is on course to become the next victim of uncontrolled density and urbanization,” he added. “Our city is at a critical juncture. If we don’t make an adjustment now it will be too late in four years.”

Milton City Council member Karen Thurman is not seeking reelection.

Thurman’s District 1, Post 1 seat is being sought by Peyton Jamison.

Qualifying for the Nov. 7 municipal election will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21 through Friday, Aug. 25 in the office of city clerk at Milton City Hall, which is at 2006 Heritage Walk. Qualifying fees are $390 for Council seats District 1, Post 1; District 2, Post 1; and District 3, Post 1; and $690 for the office of mayor.

Keith Goeke is running for the Roswell City Council Post 5 seat currently held by Jerry Orlans.

Northwest Georgia has a number of contested municipal elections.

The City Council will have two contested races, and both seats up for election on the Board of Education will have opposition as qualifying came to an end on Wednesday in Dalton. Councilman Gary Crews, who qualified for re-election for Ward 4 on Monday, will be challenged by Edgar Rincon, who qualified on Wednesday. Annalee Harlan and Aaron Marcelli will meet for the Ward 2 spot held by Tate O’Gwin, who is not running for re-election. Matt Evans and incumbent Steve Laird each qualified for the school board seat held by Laird. John Conley joined the race Wednesday with Robert Palmer Griffin Jr. for the school board seat held by Sherwood Jones III, who is running for re-election.

Cohutta: Qualifying concluded on Wednesday with Sandra Claiborne and Greg Fowler qualifying for re-election to their Town Council seats with Wanda Manis qualifying as well. The two top vote getters in the general election will win the two seats. Mayor Ron Shinnick, who qualified on Monday, will be unopposed on the ballot.

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker has drawn an opponent, Alex Marchetti.

For Post 1 on the city council, incumbent Leonard Zaprowski will face a challenger in Issure Chen Yang.

City council member Cori Davenport is not seeking re-election for Post 3, so that race is wide open. Residents Vicki Horton, Richard Holladay, John Bradberry and Mark Venco will be vying for that seat.

For Post 5 on the city council, incumbent Stephanie Endres will face a challenger in Chris Jackson. Endres was elected to the position in 2015 to serve out the unexpired term of Kelly Stewart, who left to launch a bid for the state House of Representatives.

Woodstock will host contested elections for Mayor and two City Council seats.

Mayor Donnie Henriques is seeking his fourth consecutive term in the upcoming election and now has a former council member vying for his seat.

Elizabeth “Liz” Baxter has served three terms on the Woodstock City Council and qualified Wednesday to run against Henriques on Nov. 7.

The Ward I seat held by incumbent Councilman Warren Johnson is being challenged by Dennis Conway, who has served on the Cherokee County Board of Tax Assessors for 19 years.

Longtime incumbent for the Ward III seat, Bob Mueller has two vying for his seat. Former Planning and Zoning member Colin Ake and Judy Davila.

Cobb County voters will choose municipal leaders in at least nine contested elections.

Kennesaw’s qualifying had perhaps the most volatility in its final day of qualifying, with current Post 5 Councilman Jim Sebastian qualifying not for re-election to his seat, but rather for the Post 4 position held by Jimmy Dickens, who qualified Monday. Also seeking the Post 4 seat is Chris Henderson, a senior research engineer for Georgia Tech Research Institute, according to his campaign website.

Kennesaw will see another three-way race on the Nov. 7 ballot, as Antonio “Tony” Jones was joined on the final day of qualifying by Pat Ferris and Jeffrey Oparnica. The seat is currently occupied by Councilman Nimesh Patel who is not seeking re-election.

Healthcare

Cherokee County will host a forum on how the state can respond to the opioid crisis.

The forum will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2 in the Building A Chapel at First Baptist Church of Woodstock. The forum, which is free and open to the public, is being organized by Tony Black, a Woodstock resident working closely with State Senator Renee Unterman.

Unterman, the chair of the Health & Human Services Committee, has also been on the forefront in introducing legislation that will lead to advances in heroin and opioid awareness, education and any necessary policy reforms to address addiction to these drugs.

Black is the organizer with the Cherokee County chapter of Georgia Connects, an organization connecting state law, local government agencies, private organizations and citizens to discuss how “we can help create solutions to drug addiction, opioid abuse and overdoses, and mental health disorders,” he said.

Speakers at the event will include Georgia legislators and officials and state and local law enforcement officers.

Black said he and other organizers are specifically targeting communities in counties in north metro Atlanta “that have particularly been hit hard by the increased incidence of illegal synthetic opioids.”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr‘s office approved the proposed sale of Oconee Regional Medical Center in Milledgeville to Navicent Health Oconee, LLC in Macon.

Still pending, though, is an actual property closing, as well as transfers of certain state-issued licenses and permits.

“Oconee proposes to sell substantially all of the assets associated with the healthcare services to Navicent Health Oconee, LLC, a wholly-owned and controlled subsidiary of Navicent Health, Inc., according to a copy of the approval of the hospital sale by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. “Navicent owns the Medical Center, Navicent Health in (Macon)-Bibb County, formerly known as the Medical Center of Central Georgia and leases and will ultimately wholly control the Medical Center of Peach County and Navicent Health in Peach County.”

In the document, a copy of which was obtained by The Union-Recorder, the approval by the AG’s office of the sale of the local hospital includes substantially all of its assets, including those owned by the Baldwin County Hospital Authority, as well as Oconee Regional Health Systems, Inc. and any affiliates of ORHS.

Northside Hospital and Gwinnett Health System will merge to create one of the state’s largest healthcare networks.

The agreement, if approved by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, would create a system with 1,479 beds, nearly 21,000 employees and 3,500 physicians on staff.

Northside is by far the larger and most financially sound of the two.

It has $1.7 billion in annual revenue through its three hospitals and various care facilities, according to Dun & Bradstreet.

Gwinnett has revenues of $735 million through its two hospitals and other care facilities.

Anchored by Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs and Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, this latest merger will include hospitals in Canton, Cumming and Duluth, as well as cancer treatment centers, imaging centers, urgent care centers and other outpatient locations throughout the state.

The merger adds to a growing trend in Georgia and the nation where hospitals pool resources to save on costs and expand their footprints.

Last year, Marietta-based WellStar acquired Tenet Healthcare’s five Georgia-based hospitals, including Roswell’s North Fulton Hospital, and formed a new partnership with West Georgia Health in LaGrange, to make it the largest health system in the state with 11 hospitals.

23
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 23, 2017

On August 23, 1784, four counties is western North Carolina declared themselves the State of Franklin, setting up its own Constitution and treaties with local Indian tribes. In 1788, they rejoined North Carolina but would eventually become part of a new state, Tennessee.

The Kimball Opera House, serving as the Georgia State Capitol, was sold to the state on August 23, 1870.

On August 23, 1961, four African-American citizens attempted to play tennis at Bitsy Grant Tennis Center in Atlanta, which was informally “whites only.” The Tennis Center was hastily closed rather than allow them to play, but it was the first volley leading to the eventual desegregation of Atlanta’s public recreation facilities.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Eight overdoses since Saturday in middle Georgia are being blamed on counterfeit Percocet pills.

Eight overdoses reported in Houston and Bibb counties since Saturday are suspected to be related to poisonous tablets being sold on the streets under the guise of a prescription pain killer.

One person overdosed in Macon on Monday after taking some of the round white pills Bibb County sheriff’s Lt. Randy Gonzalez called “fake Percocets.”

Seven others were hospitalized for suspected overdoses in Houston County, and some of them are only breathing with aide from ventilators, Warner Robins Police Department said in a news release Tuesday. The patients range in age from 25 to 60.

The suspicious white pill reportedly being passed around now is thick and glossy, Warner Robins police said. The letters “RP” are embossed on one side of the pills with a“10” above “325” on the other.

Warner Robins Assistant Police Chief John Wagner said the first of the overdoses in Houston County was reported Saturday night. One overdose occurred in Centerville, and the remainder in Warner Robins, he said.

Those who overdosed either came into the Houston Medical Center emergency room, or emergency responders were dispatched to their homes and, in one case, to a place of business, Wagner said.

“We can’t say that there is a for-sure link with that,” Wagner said. “But that is something that we definitely investigate to see if indeed they moved from yellow pill to white pill, the same person or the same supplier. … Or do we have a new person or a new type of pill that’s on the street that we need to be worried about from a totally different source?”

Anyone with any information about the fake prescription pills is urged to call Warner Robins police at 478-302-5380 or call Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 1-877-68-CRIME.

From the Macon Telegraph:

So far, the patients range in age from 25 to 60.

Congressman Jody Hice (R-Monroe) and Doug Collins (R-Gainesville), along with Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, reacted to President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan.Continue Reading..

22
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 22, 2017

MochaTLC

Mocha is a 16-week old female Labrador Retriever and Vizsla mix puppy who is available for adoption from TLC Pet Rescue Stockbridge, GA. Mocha is very snuggly and well-socialized.

TrixieTLC

Trixie is a 16-week old female Labrador Retriever and Vizsla mix puppy who is available for adoption from TLC Pet Rescue Stockbridge, GA. Both of these puppies are playful, energetic, and friendly to children, dogs, and cats.

SarahTLC

Sarah is a female Maltese and Poodle mix who is available for adoption from TLC Pet Rescue Stockbridge, GA.

22
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 22, 2017

The sale of Coca-Cola Company from the Candlers was announced in the Atlanta Constitution on August 22, 1919.

N/S Savannah, the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, visited the Port of Savannah on August 22, 1962. Savannah was named after S.S. Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. N/S Savannah is moored at the Port of Baltimore and designated a national historic landmark.

More than 3000 demonstrators disrupted the Democratic National Convention on August 22, 1968.

In 1972, it was the Republicans’ turn, as demonstrators struck outside the Republican National Convention.

Nolan Ryan recorded his 5000th career strikeout against Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A’s on August 22, 1989.

McNeel Marble Company in Marietta created many of the Confederate stautes under fire.

Two generations ago, [Morgan McNeel's] kin founded the McNeel Marble Co. in Marietta and grew it into one of the nation’s most prolific Confederate monument makers. Often using Georgia granite and Italian marble, they built more than 140 Confederate monuments, of which dozens are in Georgia.

Gould Hagler, a Dunwoody man who wrote the book “Georgia’s Confederate Monuments,” said McNeel made more of the state’s monuments to the Confederacy — 42 — than any other company. And McNeel prospered, eventually opening offices in Birmingham and New York.

Experts agree that demand for Confederate monuments spiked twice: at the turn of the 20th century and about the time of the civil rights movement.

Advertisements from the early 1900s show campaigns to sell monuments to communities for the 50th anniversary of the Civil War.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal nominated Robert “Bo” Hunter III as a judge in Richmond County State Court.

The governor called Hunter with the news Monday afternoon, Hunter said. “I talked with (Chief Judge David D.) Judge Watkins and Judge (Patricia Booker) and they want help as soon as possible,” Hunter said. Solicitor Omeeka Loggins told Hunter she already has a team together for him.

Hunter said he hopes to be able to close out his law practice in a week or so. He said he has asked the governor to swear him in when that is finished.

“I hope to bring good changes working with my colleagues,” Hunter said.

Hunter will complete [Judge Richard] Slaby’s unfinished term. The judgeship is up for election in 2019.

Hunter ran for a State Court judgeship vacated in 2016 when Judge John Flythe chose to run for a Superior Court judgeship. Although Hunter was the top vote-getter in the March election, Kellie McIntyre won the runoff.

First Lady Sandra Deal visited new parents at Piedmont Henry Hospital.

Deal, a mother of four, met with new parents to stress the importance of immunizations, not only for their children, but for themselves and future caregivers. She also passed along information that has been updated since she was a new mother nearly 50 years ago.

“Every mother wants her child to grow up healthy and strong,” Deal said. She said that new research has changed parenting these days.

For example, sleeping babies should be on their backs rather than their bellies. When Deal was a new mother, she said the advice was the opposite.

“Things have completely changed,” Deal said. “A child is a precious gift and parents want to take the very best care of them they can, and we want to help.”

Piedmont Henry Hospital CEO Deborah Armstrong said its a privilege to host Deal at the hospital.

“She’s clearly passionate about getting moms on the right foot,” Armstrong said. “We appreciate her visiting with us.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will visit the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan on Thursday.

The 18-acre facility is in the International Industrial Park off Ga. Hwy. 34. The training center provides a state-of-the-art learning environment for training detector dogs and their handlers to help safeguard American agriculture by preventing pests and agricultural diseases from entering the United States through airports, international borders, postal facilities and cargo areas.

Perdue, Georgia’s previous governor and a former veterinarian, will tour the facility. During the tour, he will watch a demonstration of how the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service canines and handlers demonstrate how they locate and eradicate invasive or diseased foreign plants that have crossed America’s borders.

South Georgia may have new help at the Capitol, as a new lobbying group forms to focus on non-agriculture issues.

For 25 years [Franklin] Richards has led Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia in Valdosta, which gets food to low-income people in a nearly 13,000-mile region that includes 30 counties.

Richards said the focus has mostly been on issues tied to the Farm Bill, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as “food stamps” or SNAP.

But Richards and other leaders of Second Harvest are now planning a separate organization called the Rural America Initiative (RAI) that will primarily focus on advocating for a broad set of rural interests on a state and federal level.

“We’re not in the business of just always feeding hungry people. Our long term goal is to put ourselves out of work,” Richards said. “We cannot do that until we make changes in … everything that affects these rural communities, and that’s what we want to do. We want to be at the table saying, ‘OK, if this is what you’re looking at doing, let us tell you how that’s going to affect rural America.’”

He rattled off a number of sensitive issues for rural areas where RAI might try to influence policy: water, natural resources, healthcare, jobs, broadband and other infrastructure.

DeKalb County is seeing more mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus.

The DeKalb Board of Health reported recently that the virus has been seen in five times the number of mosquitoes they normally see it in, according to local media. A map released by the health board shows virus-positive mosquitoes in a number of cities in the area, including Decatur, Chamblee, Pine Lake, Brookhaven, Clarkston, Tucker and Doraville.

“We are concerned,” Juanetta Willis, the arbovirus coordinator, told WAGA-TV. “So we want, not to alert people, but to make people aware that they really need to be taking the precautions. Most people infected with West Nile Virus are infected during August, September and in October. So, even though the kids are back at school, I need you to keep using the repellent and dumping the water.”

A Brookhaven resident was diagnosed with West Nile virus in early July. The results come from a notification from the DeKalb County Board of Health, the city said.

“In an abundance of caution, we are working with the DeKalb County Board of Health and redoubling our efforts to minimize any exposure to the West Nile virus in Brookhaven,” City Manager Christian Sigman said in a news release. “We are comparing our stormwater drainage maps with the Board of Health maps, to ensure every storm drain is treated with a larvicide which is safe for humans, but interrupts the life cycle of mosquitoes. This includes all of our parks and ponds in the City.”

Grayson City Council approved a $1.26 million dollar budget for FY 2018, which includes keeping the millage rate at the same level as last year.

Pooler City Council will consider creating a municipal stormwater utility.

Warner Robins City Council voted to create the position of City Administrator.

The Warner Robins City Council approved a city administrator position Monday, despite a request from the Chamber of Commerce that it be put on the ballot in November.

Councilman Mike Davis cast the lone dissenting vote, with Councilman Clifford Holmes abstaining. Holmes said he was not opposed to an administrator but supported having it on the ballot for voters to decide.“I think this is a major decision where we are trying to change our form of government and I think it ought to be the people’s right to have a say,” Davis said before the vote was taken.

Mayor Randy Toms did not comment. He has previously said he has a plan to turn the city clerk’s job into an administrator’s position by giving the clerk more authority.

April Bragg, president and CEO of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber’s board of directors supports putting the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker qualified for another term.

“We have worked as a team to successfully build the nicest city with the highest standards and best quality of life available in Georgia,” Bodker said Monday.

Johns Creek is also widely touted as the safest city “with the lowest crime rate of any city of its size, anywhere,” he added.

“We enjoy the best schools, an extremely low unemployment rate and growing parks and recreational programs for families,” he continued. “These successes don’t happen by accident. They are the result of mature leadership that also looks out for taxpayers.”

Bodker’s re-election bid won’t be a cakewalk, however. Local businessman Alex Marchetti has indicated he will also run for the office of mayor in the Nov. 7 general municipal elections.

“With one more term, I will be able to complete the mission that we started out to do when we first incorporated our city,” Bodker continued. “I want to work to make sure our traffic relief plans are implemented, new sidewalks are put in and all neighborhoods are repaved. I want to work to keep taxes down, and want to focus on keeping Johns Creek moving forward rather than going backward.”

Milledgeville opened qualifying for municipal offices.

Milledgeville City Council incumbent Alderman Steve Chambers was the first to qualify on opening day, according to Milledgeville City Clerk Bo Danuser.

Chambers, a longtime member of city council, represents District 6.

Another longtime member of city council qualified a few minutes later. Jeanette Walden, who has served on city council for the past 20 years, is seeking re-election to another four-year term as the District 2 representative.

Other candidates who qualified Monday for seats on city council and mayor included: Mary Parham Copelan, a political newcomer, qualified later in the day to seek the office of mayor. Copelan is a retired captain with the Georgia Department of Corrections, and has never held public office.

Marietta City Council member Philip Goldstein will not run for reelection, though his 23-year old son qualified for his seat.

Warner Robins municipal qualifying saw an early stampede of candidates.

Joe Musselwhite, the city’s former public works director and runner-up in the last mayoral election, was the first to qualify Monday. Later in the morning, Mayor Randy Toms qualified to run for re-election to a second term. City Councilman Chuck Shaheen said at the last council meeting he plans to run for mayor, but he did not qualify Monday.

Qualifying continues through Friday.

Jim Taylor, a parks activist who works for Warner Robins Building Supply, qualified to run for Shaheen’s at-large Post 1 seat. Jeffery Walker, a previous unsuccessful council candidate, qualified to run for Shaheen’s seat.

The mayors of Centerville and Perry, as well as council posts in each, are up for re-election. No incumbents in those cities had drawn challengers as of late Monday afternoon, while all of the incumbents qualified.

Matt Evans qualified to run for Dalton Board of Education.

Rome Mayor Jamie Doss qualified for another term, and Commissioner Windy Davis is running for another term.

Lowndes County municipalities continue candidate qualifying.

Positions up for election are:

— Valdosta City Council Districts seats 2, 4 and 6

— Hahira City Council District seats 1, 4 and mayor

— Dasher Post 1, 2 and mayor

— Lake Park two seats at-large

— Remerton City Council three positions open

— Valdosta Board of Education District 5 and 6.

The Gainesville Times reviews municipal posts up for election this year.

Lula City Council member Lamb Griffin was hospitalized after being hit by a car.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery has endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams in the 2018 election for Governor.

21
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 21, 2017

Mack and Mojo2

Mack and Mojo are seven-year old, 110 pound (each) male Great Pyrenees/Saint Bernard mixes who are in urgent need of foster or forever homes. From Desperate Dogs on Facebook:

Mack and Mojo’s elderly Papa is dying of cancer….he is fading away fast…. and their mama is very sick too. She can no longer care for herself or their beloved dogs any more.

A loving family member, Susan Tanner, is helping her to take care of herself while she prepares for the loss of her beloved husband and has also been tirelessly working to find a new home for these dogs so that Papa can leave his family knowing that everything is taken care of. He is so worried that his wife cannot cope with the dogs, and knows it would break her heart if she had to take them to the shelter as a last resort.

It honestly doesn’t get any more sobering than this, does it?

This is not just about finding the perfect forever home for these dogs, its about giving a dying man his wish to see his family in good hands, his elderly wife with less worries on her shoulders and giving a sweet soul who is trying to carry some of their burden, a helping hand.

If you can help, or know anyone who can, please call Susan Tanner on 404 4526319 as soon as you can.

Susan has reached out to many rescues and so far has had no luck at all, so we are trying to get these dogs a home so that Mama and Papa can rest easy knowing they are safe.

Mack and Mojo1

21
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 21, 2017

James Oglethorpe and the Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Coweta Town, delineating geographic areas open to British settlement, on August 21, 1739.

On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner led the largest slave rebellion in American history; Turner was later hanged in Jerusalem, VA.

The first of the Lincoln-Douglass series of seven debates was held in Ottawa, Illinois, on August 21, 1858, pitting Democrat Stephen Douglass against Republican Abraham for the United States Senate seat held by Douglass. Expansion of slavery in the United States was the topic for the debates.

On August 21, 1907, Georgia Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation to place a Constitutional Amendment designed to disenfranchise African-Americans by requiring passage of a literacy test to vote. A number of exceptions allowed local officials to exempt white voters whom they wished to allow to vote; one exemption was for anyone descended from a U.S. or Confederate wartime veteran – the so-called “grandfather clause.”

On the same day, Gov. Smith also signed legislation prohibiting fishing on Sunday, subject to misdemeanor prosecution.

On August 21, 1935, Benny Goodman and his orchestra began a seven-night stand at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, beginning the Swing Era.

Happy 55th birthday to Hawaii, which became the 50th State on August 21, 1959; they’ve undoubtedly been receiving AARP literature in the mail for ten years.

The 1968 Democratic National Convention began in Chicago on August 21, 1968.

The name of Julian Bond of Georgia, then-27 and too young to serve, was placed in nomination for Vice President during the 1968 DNC.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Heard on NPR this morning:

Heard on NPR: Experience from past eclipses suggests that it has been younger people who are more likely to ignore safety warnings, says Chou.

“It does tend to be young males,” he says. “Teens to early 20s — the ones who don’t think about any protection for a number of different circumstances.”

No kidding?

Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols had an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal on Plant Vogtle.

Georgia’s decision to continue building two new nuclear reactors—the only commercial ones now in development in the U.S.—means my state stands alone. Vermont’s Yankee nuclear plant went offline in 2014, and Massachusetts’ Pilgrim Station is scheduled to close in 2019. The company behind two half-finished reactors in South Carolina began publicly considering last month whether to abandon the project.

Georgia has been down this road before. The first two nuclear reactors at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Augusta were completed in 1987 and 1989, in the aftermath of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. What was supposed to be a $1 billion project turned into $8 billion. Still, it was a great deal for ratepayers in the end, delivering low-cost power for decades.

Today, finishing the Vogtle plant’s two new Westinghouse AP1000 reactors is the right call—for their owners, including Southern Co., as well as for Georgia and the U.S. There are four reasons:

Diversifying the energy supply makes sense, because no one knows what the future holds. The U.S. could institute a carbon tax, as President Obama envisioned, or even regulate frackers out of a job. No matter what happens, nuclear reactors will ensure Georgia’s electric rates stay competitive.

They also will keep the U.S. from completely forfeiting its nuclear leadership. As other states have decommissioned reactors without replacing them, the world has begun looking to nations like China and Russia. The World Nuclear Association reports that China is increasing its nuclear generation capacity 70% by 2020-21 and will surpass U.S. output by 2030. The only way for America to continue setting international standards for nuclear safety and security is to invest in reactors and technology.

Don’t forget, too, with all the talk of health care in the news, that nuclear reactors produce isotopes needed for medical imaging and cancer treatment.

Last week a Canadian electric company, Bruce Power, announced a partnership to expand isotope production using its reactors.

Finally, reactor technology gives American naval vessels a distinct advantage. The U.S. has 10 aircraft carriers and dozens of submarines powered by nuclear fuel. These vessels can go years without refueling. But the Navy program relies on a strong commercial nuclear industry to provide steady employment and training and keep the supply chain humming.

While Georgia’s two new reactors are moving forward, I understand the angst surrounding such massive construction projects, as well as the concern over their costs. I know that Yucca Mountain, where the nuclear waste would ultimately be stored, is only now emerging from limbo. And I do value renewables like solar.

But the job of a state utility commission is to plan for the future. Georgia is pressing ahead—despite fears fanned by the 2011 tsunami in Fukushima, Japan, and despite the financial meltdown that put the reactor designer, Westinghouse, in bankruptcy this year. Against great challenges Georgia and Southern Co. persist. With vision, perseverance and God’s help we will make the Vogtle reactors America’s next nuclear energy flagship.

VEEP worthy. The eight-page memo detailing how to drive Congressman Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) has leaked.

Demanding, high-maintenance bosses are notorious on Capitol Hill. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s staff had to walk his dog, poop pick-up and all. Former Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made her male aides carry her purse.

Who knew it could take eight pages of instructions on how to properly escort a member of Congress around his district? Yet there it is, laid out in mind-blowing detail, in a memo obtained by POLITICO that’s sure to make any young, eager-beaver political aide shudder.

Tasks listed in the document, entitled “Instructions on Staffing and Driving — District Version,” include handing Rokita a cup of black coffee upon picking him up at his home, acting as a physical barrier between him and trackers looking to capture embarrassing footage of the congressman, and “avoid[ing] sudden acceleration or braking” while driving.

“The goal is to provide as smooth a ride as possible,” reads the instruction manual, co-authored by a former chief of staff to the congressman and Tim Edson, Rokita’s ex-communications director-turned-campaign spokesman.

Drivers are expected to transport not only Rokita’s toothbrush and toothpaste but also stock and tote around the district a nearly 20-item supply box that Rokita’s staffers call “the football.” The contents include gum, hand sanitizer, business cards, bottled water, napkins and Kleenex, lozenges, a stapler and stapler remover, Post-it notes and Shout wipes, among other items.

Rokita needs a hanger in the car for his jacket. Never allow him to be photographed with a drink in his hand. And never forget, the memo states multiple times in boldface, underlined letters, to remind the 47-year-old to bring the essentials.

“When TER enters the car, check to ensure he has his phone and wallet,” the instructions say, referring to Rokita by his initials.

“When you arrive at the event, get Todd a non-alcoholic drink that he can carry with him as he visits (water, diet soda, and coffee are best),” the manual reads.

Pro-tip: if you work for an elected official who wears reading glasses, always keep an eye on the glasses; when they set them down and start heading in a different direction, grab the glasses.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is receiving an education in diplomacy at the State Department’s “spouse school.”

Last week, Newt Gingrich sat in a classroom surrounded by 11 women and one other man, furiously jotting notes.

In the weeklong intensive, where classes ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with only a short cafeteria lunch break in between, the former House speaker and onetime presidential candidate received a crash course in a new role: invisible spouse.

In a series of back-to-back 75-minute lectures he described as “tiring,” Gingrich and the 12 other spouses of waiting-to-be-confirmed ambassadors were educated on some basic rules of the road. “You always have two fridges,” Gingrich marveled in an interview with POLITICO, “one for personal food, one for entertaining, so you’re not eating out of the taxpayer refrigerator. I didn’t know that.”

The group was instructed on ground rules for entertaining. “If you invite eight or 10 ambassadors over for dinner,” Gingrich said, “there’s protocol for who sits where. A protocol officer who helps you think through everything.”

“I’ll be the person at the front door saying, ‘Hi, I’m Newt Gingrich. The ambassador will be down shortly,’” he laughed. “It’s a great new role. Callista supported me in ’12 when I ran for president; I get to support her now. And I get to join the spouse organization.”

“I sat through a couple of hours on how to do interviews,” Gingrich said. “The first point they make over and over is, you are not the principal. I’m wearing my spouse hat. I’ve got to be very circumspect. We don’t want to confuse people about who speaks for the United States. Callista speaks for the United States. I just speak for Newt Gingrich.”

Macon-Bibb County Commissioners voted by a 5-3 margin to raise property tax rates by about 20 percent.

The millage rate will increase by 3 mils, from 14.652 to 17.652.

Commissioners Larry Schlesinger, Gary Bechtel, Al Tillman, Scotty Shepherd and Virgil Watkins voted for the increase. Commissioners Elaine Lucas, Joe Allen and Mallory Jones voted against it. Commissioner Bert Bivins was absent.

The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $125,000 is approximately $129 and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $125,000 is approximately $150.

The extra revenue will be used to pay for recreation staff and raises for the sheriff’s and fire departments.

Muscogee County Jail has become overcrowded again.

The facility, which can accommodate a maximum of 1,065 people, had about 1,077 inmates as of Friday, said Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins.

“I just met with judges and we’re sending information to the DA and the Public Defender and the Chief of Probation about all the people we have in the jail,” the sheriff said Thursday. “We’re trying to get everybody to work toward moving some of these people somehow, somewhere, some way.”

The numbers continue to climb two years after the city implemented a Rapid Resolution initiative to more efficiently move people through the legal system and relieve jail overcrowding.

Earlier this year, the issue of jail expansion surfaced at a meeting concerning the future of the Government Center. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson told members of the Mayor’s Commission on the Government Center and Judicial Building that about $33 million of OLOST funds had been slated for jail expansion. However, the expansion was not needed at the time, she said, and she wondered if that money could be used to build a judicial center instead.

On Friday, Tomlinson said the jail numbers have been as high as 1,200 during her tenure, and she doesn’t see the current statistics as an alarming, irreversible trend. She said the jail population tends to go up and down based on a variety of factors, including time of year, judges’ schedules and the pace of state probation cases.

“Certainly, for the vast majority of my awareness, during the prior Sheriff’s administration, there were around 1,100 (to) 1,130 —those are the numbers we’re very used to seeing,” Tomlinson said. “So, it wasn’t until we started Rapid Resolution, and also the criminal justice reform that the state did, that a lot of things began to adjust that.

A survey of butterflies in Coastal Georgia netted strong results.

Around mid-afternoon we are chased by a storm and decide to call it a day. And what a day. We have recorded 439 individual butterflies of 35 different species. An observation of the uncommon Dion Skipper is nominated for sighting of the day. Mike is disappointed that we didn’t document Little Metalmarks, a declining species that has previously been recorded at Harris Neck.

I learned that butterfly surveys are non-invasive and don’t involve netting or collecting your quarry — identification can be determined using close-focusing binoculars. Upon my return home, I dive into my increasingly dog-eared copy of “Butterflies of the East Coast” by Rick Cech and Guy Tudor (Princeton University Press, 2005), with the ardor of a thirsty Palamedes Swallowtail nectaring at a buttonbush blossom.

Founders

Ryan Gravel, whose Georgia Tech thesis led to creation of the Atlanta Belt Line, wants to turn his sights to Buford Highway.

“I love Buford Highway,” said Ryan Gravel in a recent interview in his office on the eighth story of Ponce City Market. “Buford Highway has this amazing spirit, culture and vibrancy, [and it] would be inspiring to see the next chapter of that story.”

Home to more than 1,000 immigrant-owned businesses, Buford Highway is a regional attraction in large part because of its ethnic and cultural diversity that many know because of its numerous restaurants.

Korean, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Central American, Somali and Ethiopian goods and services are part of the fabric of Buford Highway’s “International Corridor.” But as metro Atlanta grows by an expected 2.5 million people in the next 20 years, the property values along the road will continue to increase. Gentrification and redevelopment threaten to change the nature of the corridor.

Gravel’s Generator is partnering with another nonprofit, We Love BuHi, founded by Brookhaven resident Marian Liou to preserve and promote Buford Highway’s cultural diversity. The ideas they hope to be generated by Georgia Tech students will be ways to acknowledge the growth of the region while also finding ways to celebrate and preserve the diversity of the people who live and work on Buford Highway.

A major issue facing Buford Highway is affordable housing as people, many of whom are immigrants, are being displaced from inexpensive apartment complexes to make way for luxury housing. Affordable housing along the Atlanta BeltLine is currently a hot and controversial topic. Gravel resigned last year from the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership over concerns of not enough emphasis on equity and affordability.

“If our only aspiration for the BeltLine was new housing and jobs and green space, then we succeeded,” he said. But the vision created for the BeltLine included the people already living there and ensuring their success as well — and “the jury is out if we’ve been successful or not” on that, he acknowledged.

Mary Rose Taylor helped found the Emory Brain Health Center after her husband died from Alzheimer’s; now she is a patient at the ALS Clinic there.

She was diagnosed that October [2014] with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. She became a patient at Emory’s Brain Health Center, a place that she had championed. Soon she would lose the ability to walk, to speak, to swallow and, eventually, to breathe. In January, she made the difficult decision to undergo a tracheostomy as her muscles weakened.

But with her mobility reduced to the use of a single finger, her determination to assist the Brain Health Center never flagged. The center is a unique organization that puts under one roof treatment of — and research into — the major neurodegenerative diseases.

“There would not be a Brain Health Center today if Mary had not been a founding partner, a co-conspirator, an inspiration and an instigator,” said Levey. “She came up with the name.”

Back in the 1990s, that personality came to the fore during her long campaign to rescue the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote Atlanta’s most famous book, “Gone with the Wind.”

Burned by arsonists, threatened by the wrecking ball, the Midtown apartment house was a shambles when Taylor arranged financing and lined up allies in 1994. The house museum was fully renovated and ready to open its doors in time for the 1996 Olympics — Atlanta’s big coming out party — when arsonists burned it again.

Taylor dusted herself off and started over. Rebuilt a second time, the house opened to the public a year later. Only one part of the building was truly historic, the ground-floor rooms where Mitchell did her writing, and that’s the part that, miraculously, was unscathed in the multiple fires.

Daren Wang, founding Executive Director of the Decatur Book Festival, has resigned effective at the end of the year.

Wang, whose debut novel, “The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, launches at this year’s festival, has announced his resignation, effective at the end of year.

“With the book coming out at this point, it feels like a natural break for me,” said Wang, 51. “As much as I love the festival and what we’ve accomplished, I’ve become the guy who says, ‘That’s not the way we do things,’ as opposed to the guy who says, ‘Hey, what a great idea Let’s do that.’ And I think that’s not what the festival needs in leadership.”

Festival director Julie Wilson said she’s excited for Wang and hopes to continue fostering what he helped establish.

“He has built this amazing event that this city loves and that has brought attention to the literary community in Atlanta, and we want to continue to build on that,” she said.

Qualifying

Qualifying for Mayor and City Council in most Georgia cities that have odd-year elections will run today through Wednesday, though some differ.

Qualifying for council seats up for election this year in Dallas and Hiram is set to begin Monday, Aug. 21, at each city hall. Dallas will end its qualifying period Wednesday, Aug. 23, at 4:30 p.m. while Hiram will keep its qualifying period open through Friday, Aug. 25, at 4:30 p.m.

Both elections are set for Nov. 7.

Dallas voters will choose members for the Ward 1 and 3 seats and one of two At-Large seats. Incumbents in those seats include Nancy Arnold, Griffin White and Chris Carter.

All three incumbents said they planned to qualify for re-election.

Hiram voters will select members for four-year terms for the Post 3, 4 and 5 council seats. Current council members in those seats include Derrick Battle, Jeff Cole and Mayor Pro-Tem Kathy Carter.

Cole and Kathy Carter said they plan to seek re-election this year. Battle did not return an emailed request for comment.

Check with your local government if you’re considering running.

John Creek City Council member Cori Davenport will not run for reelection this year.

With a “heavy heart,” Cori Davenport announced she will not be running for re-election to the Post 3 seat.

Davenport said she has been thinking about this option for some time, and decided it would be best to allow other residents to vie for the votes of citizens.

“My intent four years ago was to serve my community well and to lend my business knowledge, common sense judgment and a no-agenda approach to our city government,” she said. “I have kept that promise to the citizens and to myself.”

John Bradberry, founder of Preserve Johns Creek had previously announced he would run for the seat currently held by Davenport. Vicki Horton also announced for the District 3 seat.

Roswell City Council member Don Horton will run for Mayor.

Post 3 City Councilman Don Horton on Thursday said he will run for the seat held by incumbent Jere Wood, the longtime leader who announced he is not seeking re-election after a court ruling determined he was unqualified to run for the office in 2013.

Horton, who was first elected to the Council in 2015, outlined a list of accomplishments have taken place over the last two years. Some of those positive outcomes have been changing the city’s Unified Development Code to protect established neighborhoods, creating term limits for elected officials and working with the Roswell Downtown Development Authority to redevelop old shopping centers such as the old Southern Skillet property.

Along with Horton, candidates Michael Litten and Sandra Sidhom are also in the running for the seat.

In Milledgeville, Mayor and all six council members are up for election.

Every four years, city elections are held in Milledgeville. It’s also time for candidates interested in seeking a seat on the Georgia Military College Board of Trustees to qualify.

Candidates interested in qualifying for city council or mayor, as well as a seat on the Georgia Military College Board of Trustees, are reminded that qualifying for a position begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday and runs through 4:30 p.m. Friday, according to Milledgeville City Clerk Bo Danuser, who this year also is serving as city qualifying officer

Several incumbent members of city council have indicated they plan to seek re-election, as has the mayor.

Qualifying will be held in the clerk’s office located in City Hall, 119 E. Hancock St.

The Gwinnett Daily Post has a helpful review of city council elections for municipalities within Gwinnett County.

The Savannah Morning News reviews local elections qualifying this week.

The Marietta Daily Journal also highlights local election qualifying.

Today is the first day to qualify to get your name on the ballot for Nov. 7 elections in Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta. Qualification begins Wednesday in Austell and Powder Springs.

Positions in all of Cobb’s cities except Smyrna will be up for a vote. No county or state offices will be on the ballot.

Thomasville is holding qualifying for City Council and Board of Education seats.

Seats open are:

• District 1, Post 2

• District 2, Post 2

• At-Large

Mayor Greg Hobbs currently serves District 1, Post 2, Council member Max Beverly currently serves District 2, Post 2, and mayor pro tem Don Sims currently serves as the at-large council member.

The second general election is for three seats on the Thomasville City School Board.

Seats open are:

• District 1, one seat

• District 2, two seats

Board member Dr. Hazel Jones currently serves District 1 and board members David Cone and John Everett currently serve in District 2.

Qualifying begins Aug. 21 and lasts until Aug. 25. Qualifying times are from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Cairo voters will elect the Mayor and two City Council members.

The mayor’s seat and two council member seats are up for election on the Cairo City Council.

District 2 and District 4 seats are up in the election. Council members Ernest Cloud and James Douglas currently serve Districts 2 and 4, respectively. Robert Burns currently serves as the mayor.

All seats are up in the election for Whigham City Council.

The Whigham mayor and council members serve at-large.

The elections’ qualifying period begins Aug. 21 and lasts until Aug. 25, 4:30 p.m.

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 18, 2017

Lifeline Clear Shelters

Lifeline Animal Project is waiving all adoption fees tomorrow to “Clear the Shelters.” Lifeline operates the DeKalb County Animal Shelter and Fulton County Animal Shelters.

Sabrina

Sabrina is a baby pit bull female, and she and her sisters, Precious and Storm are available for adoption from the Fulton County Animal Shelter.

Mate

Mate is a male American Foxhound mix who is available for adoption from the Fulton County Animal Shelter.

SugarDeKalbn

Sugar is a sweet female Pit Bull (or Boxer?) mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Shelter.