The blog.

24
Jun

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 24, 2015

All dogs are urgent at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter due to overcrowding, high continuing intake, and the usual summer population explosion. If you’ve been considering adopting or fostering, this is a great time to save a life.

Urgent Dogs Gwinnett

Champ and Justin

Gwinnett 45423

ID number 45423 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is a sweet 3-month old Border Collie mix female puppy.

Gwinnett 45446

ID number 45446 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is a 3-year old Terrier mix female.

Gwinnett45434

Gwinnett County Animal Shelter #45434 is a 5-year old male Pomeranian.


 

Gwinnett County Commissioners amended a new dog-tethering ordinance that prohibits tethering a dog outside unless the owner is also outside and within sight of the tethered dog.

Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said it was the advocates’ “polite persistence” that won her over to their side.

“We are so grateful you brought the issue back up,” said one resident, Jennifer Summers. “I certainly applaud you.”

Commissioners also tabled a proposal to ease restrictions on chickens in residential areas.

The Board of Commissioners had been expected to make a decision on revising the county’s livestock ordinance this week, after the Planning Commission recommended its approval with conditions. After a half-hour of debate between residents, however, Commissioner Tommy Hunter asked his colleagues to table the matter so it could be vetted more thoroughly.

Hunter said there were “valid concerns” raised on both sides of the debate. He initially sought to have it postponed until July 7, but later changed the date to July 21 because of a scheduling conflict Commissioner Jace Brooks had with the earlier date.

“That gives us (four) weeks to figure out where we want to go from there,” Hunter said.

The livestock ordinance was one of two law changes commissioners dealt with on Tuesday. They also passed changes to the county’s beekeeping law that makes it easier to engage in backyard beekeeping.

Andor, a 13-year old German Shepherd who served with the Lawrenceville Police Department beginning in 2005 was laid to rest.

On Andor’s day, he had dozens of police officers from around Gwinnett and Barrow counties and other officials, including Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson, turn out to send him off.

And he had a grassy plot among other dogs in a small, gated section of the cemetery off Harbins Road.

And he had a funeral flag, like a soldier.

Two officers, in full dress uniforms, folded it into a triangle. Corso, down on one knee, his head bowed, presented it to the Humphreys, like a soldier’s family.

Funding for a new DeKalb County Animal Shelter is a heated topic. From the Brookhaven Post,

The hot topic of the night was the building of a new DeKalb County Animal Shelter. Back in December, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners (BOC) approved an RFP for Architectural and Engineering Design Consulting Services for a new DeKalb Animal Shelter, for an amount not to exceed $800,000. The BOC chose Jackson & Ryan Architects out of Houston, Texas as the Architectural and Design firm.

The proposed new facility will be approximately 40,000 square feet contained on 5.3 acres of land.

Attendees expressed their concerns to ICEO May that the facility will be obsolete from day one. “The animal shelter will not be large enough and will only add to the numbers of animals that are euthanized each year,” one woman told May. “Why would the County build something that it will only have to expand in the near future?”

Attendees stressed the practices and capacity should be the driver in designing this facility – not the budget. “We are never going to get this chance again. We are not asking for more than was originally allocated. It just needs to be designed to handle the capacity in the best humane fashion.”

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester (R-Dunwoody) released a statement on funding for the shelter.

I support DeKalb County building a new animal shelter which accommodates the number of dogs for whom we need to provide shelter. For this to occur, it is essential we design a shelter which can safely house approximately 340 – 400 dogs.

I have and will continue to advocate for an appropriately sized facility that is congruent with my goals of fiscal responsibility and humane treatment of animals. We must also have a shelter with adequate capacity to meet our public health responsibilities.

In the County Operations and Public Safety (COPS) Committee, the Commissioners and Interim CEO instructed the design team to prepare a facility which can accommodate 340 – 400 dogs. As the design team continues to draft the animal shelter design, the COPS Committee will receive updates. After the design is finalized, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) will vote on funding the shelter as designed.

I support investment in capital assets rather than increasing the scope and size of county government through increases in employment liabilities. Investing in an appropriate animal shelter yields a better return on investment than allocating your tax dollars to bloated government functions.

I have heard from many taxpayers across our district. Together, we will work for a humane animal shelter which is appropriate in design to serve our needs, care for the animals, and respect our tax dollars.

24
Jun

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

On June 24, 1497, John Cabot first sighted North America, claiming it for the British Crown.

On June 24, 1795, the United States Senate voted to ratify Jay’s Treaty between the UK and United States. The terms of the treaty required an appropriation from the U.S. House of Representatives to implement it, and Congressional opponents tried to defeat the appropriation, which was approved by a 51-48 margin on April 30, 1796. Click here for more background on the treaty and controversy.

On June 24, 1853, President Franklin Pierce signed the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring what it now southern Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.

General Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River toward Pennsylvania on June 24, 1863.

John R. Lynch was the first African-American elected Chairman of the Republican National Convention on June 24, 1884; Lynch was nominated by Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson married Ellen Louise Axson of Rome, Georgia in Savannah on June 24, 1885.

On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin from all road, rail, and barge traffic.

Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and, eventually, France, were given specific zones to occupy in which they were to accept the surrender of Nazi forces and restore order. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones of occupation.

The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. Russia looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. And the successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union. On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.

General Lucius D. Clay of Marietta, Georgia was military Governor of occupied Germany at that time.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in West Germany on June 24, 1977. It’s astounding.

Rickey Henderson made his major league debut with the Oakland A’s on June 24, 1979, stealing his first base.

On June 24, 1982, the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution was defeated, having garnered the ratification of thirty-five states, three shy of the requisite Constitutional Majority.

Hopes for ratification before the deadline next Wednesday were dashed this week when the amendment was rejected by the Illinois House and the Florida Senate, two states in which supporters felt they had a fighting chance.

Had Illinois and Florida ratified the amendment, there was at least some chance that either Oklahoma or North Carolina would have provided the final needed vote.

Prospects were far slimmer in the other nonratifying states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Phyllis Schlafly, a leader of a group called Stop-ERA, hailed the defeat of the amendment tonight, saying: ”They realized E.R.A. is dead and I think that that is an admission they have lost the battle. My feeling is that E.R.A. will take its place with the prohibition and the child labor amendments as ones which did not have enough support of the American people to be in the Constitution.”

Wintersville now has it’s own double-barreled cannon, a replica of the original that stands outside the Athens City Hall.

Georgia Politics

Georgia moved to dismiss the federal lawsuit by Florida over water flows to the Apalachicola basin, but court rejected the motion. Last month, the Athens Banner-Herald wrote that water use in Georgia declined between 1980 and 2010.

Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-11) passed his first legislation since taking office.

Loudermilk, a Republican from Cassville, is the lead sponsor of the DHS Paid Administrative Leave Act, which would aim to keep better track of Department of Homeland Security employees who are put on paid leave while they are investigated for misconduct. It would order DHS to come up with a departmentwide policy on administrative leave and report to Congress all employees on leave longer than six months.

The inspiration for the legislation was a 2014 Government Accountability Office report on paid leave across the federal government, showing that DHS employees took 1.5 million days of paid leave from 2011 to 2013. Loudermilk serves on the Homeland Security Committee.

Early Wednesday evening, the House approved the bill in a unanimous voice vote.

The Suwanee City Council adopted an FY2016 budget 9.2% higher than the previous year, that assumes the same millage rate, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has apparently noticed that residential property taxes are going up in DeKalb County.

In DeKalb, which was hit hard by foreclosures a few years ago, residents are now experiencing some of the steepest increases in home values. The hot real estate market has given the county more information about how much properties are worth, Hicks said. The estimated worth of some houses has more than doubled since last year.

Residential real property assessments are up 17 percent in DeKalb, 11 percent in Clayton, 10 percent in Fulton, 7 percent in Cobb and 6 percent in Gwinnett, according to preliminary figures.

Appraisers estimate individual home values based on nearby sales combined with computer estimates that factor for location, square footage, condition and other considerations.

“Whether your home is losing value or gaining value, our job is to place those assessments in line with whatever the market is doing,” he said.

Some homeowners say the enormous jump in property assessments is unreasonable, and they want the county to approve a significant tax cut to reduce the impact on their personal finances.

“The numbers they’ve come up with aren’t understandable, realistic or fair,” said Nancy McCall, whose rental property near Stone Mountain is valued 56 percent higher than last year, costing her a projected $369 more than she paid last year.

The Lowndes County Commission passed a balanced $100+ million budget that does not include a millage rate increase.

Forsyth County Schools have proposed a property tax increase for the first time since 2011, according to the Forsyth News.

The board tentatively has agreed to a rate of 17.3 mills, which would amount to an increase in property taxes of 11.7 percent, according to the school system’s chief financial officer, Dan Jones.

Three public hearings must be held before the board makes a final vote in July. It would be the first school tax increase since 2011.

The tentative plan would result in an increase of 1.812 mills. Without it, the millage rate would be no higher than 15.488 mills.

 

In Cherokee County, a $530 million school board budget would be based on keeping the same 19.45 mill property tax rate as last year, while rising property values produce a 6 percent revenue bump over last year, according to the Cherokee Ledger News.

“This must be tempered by the fact that expected property tax collections for 2015-16 will be only slightly higher than they were in 2006, while we are faced with the reality of educating nearly 6,000 additional students who have enrolled since then,” [Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo] explained.

When it comes to state funding for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, Petruzielo said the local district would receive another $6.5 million that had been withheld in previous years because of budget cuts.

“The positive news reflected in state revenue increases is tempered by the fact that CCSD will still not receive $11.1 million in earned … funding due to unilateral state funding reductions that will continue for the 2015-16 school year,” Petruzielo explained. “This equates to approximately 180 teachers that could have been employed to work in our classrooms next year.”

Likewise, the Cherokee County Commission will keep the same millage rate of 5.728 mills while seeing higher property values.

5 percent raises across the board for next year for county employees, County Manager Jerry Cooper said at the June 16 Board of Commissioner’s work session.

This will increase the property tax levy by 4.98 percent over the rollback million rate, which is 5.457.

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, after hearing Cooper’s revised report on the estimated county tax digest and project expenses, determined the millage rates recommended for general operations, the parks bond and the fire fund should stay the same for 2015. By Cooper’s revised calculations, those tax rates will provide a 5 percent cost-of-living adjustments. The BOC directed Cooper to advertise an operations rate of 5.728, a parks bond rate of 7.44 mills and a fire services fund millage rate of 3.356.

County residents can express their viewpoints on the proposed tax rate at two public hearings, which will be held at each of the regularly scheduled commission meetings July 7 and July 21. Commissioners meet the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in Cherokee Hall at the County Administration Building at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton. Commissioners will set the final 2015 millage rate at a special called meeting.

The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority is requesting $5 million from the proceeds of SPLOST collections toward an new $110 million arena. Meanwhile, the combined City-County government marks the 20th anniversary of the 1995 vote to consolidate local governments.

Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson has some advice for folks appearing in court, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“If you come in dressed like a hoochie, and you are accused of being a hoochie, you’ve just fulfilled that role,” Patterson said. “You want to have some respect for the court and for yourself.”

Patterson admits that while some crimes are so terrible, it won’t matter what someone wears, it does always help to look presentable.

“You don’t have to dress in something expensive, but be clean and neat and don’t wear something vulgar,” she said.

“I’ve seen a guy come into my office wearing a cropped shirt that said ‘Booty Hunter’ on it,” she said. “He also seemed as if he hadn’t bathed in 10 days. You can’t go to court like that.”

Joe Smith, Rome city clerk, said that bailiffs sometimes have to ask people to put something on or change.

“I’ve heard of a judge telling someone to go home and he reschedules their court date,” Smith said. “More often than not, it is an issue of not wearing enough clothing. Summer is the time it happens the most.”

Macon-Bibb County Commissioners clearly see money intended to fight blight as a pie, to be divided evenly among district, but Mayor Robert Reichert hopes they’ll change that plan, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The commission’s blight committee has approved dividing the money into nine equal $1 million portions to attack blight in each commission district.

That’s a change from a recommendation made by Macon-Bibb’s Blight Task Force, which recommended using $8 million for three specific blight projects that had not been determined, with the remaining $1 million to be split among the nine districts.

“In my opinion, splitting this money may not be the most effective use of it,” Reichert told commissioners.

Reichert said he thinks the money would be more effectively leveraged by partnering with other local agencies and attacking blight in specific parts of town. Under that scenario, he said, the community would see a greater impact because the improved areas could be used for economic development.

“It’s not enough to demolish some structures,” Reichert said. “There has to be adaptive re-use as well.”

But some commissioners, including Bert Bivins and Virgil Watkins, said Tuesday that commissioners could assess the biggest needs within their districts and come up with a plan to remove blighted properties.

The Forsyth County Republican Party cancelled plans for a runoff debate in House District 24 after only one candidate showed interest.

Jason Mock, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, said Tuesday he and other officials called off the event after just one candidate attended a meeting Saturday.

“We looked at it from a couple standpoints,” Mock said. “At the last debate, on June 6, I made an announcement that stated that we’d like to invite the top two candidates to the monthly GOP meeting on June 20 to talk about why they’re running.

“That was last Saturday and we only had one candidate appear at that meeting.”

Mock said that it wasn’t an easy decision to scrap the debate, but that doing so in advance was preferable.

“I didn’t want the candidates, the party or the community to come to a debate with potentially only one candidate or no candidates,” he said.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a study showing little evidence exists for the efficacy of medical marijuana.

The strongest evidence is for chronic pain and for muscle stiffness in multiple sclerosis, according to the review, which evaluated 79 studies involving more than 6,000 patients. Evidence was weak for many other conditions, including anxiety, sleep disorders, and Tourette’s syndrome and the authors recommend more research.

The analysis is among several medical marijuana articles published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They include a small study suggesting that many brand labels for edible marijuana products list inaccurate amounts of active ingredients. More than half of brands tested had much lower amounts than labeled, meaning users might get no effect.

The researchers pooled results from studies that tested marijuana against placebos, usual care or no treatment. That’s the most rigorous kind of research but many studies found no conclusive evidence of any benefit. Side effects were common and included dizziness, dry mouth and sleepiness. A less extensive research review in the journal found similar results.

It’s possible medical marijuana could have widespread benefits, but strong evidence from high-quality studies is lacking, authors of both articles say.

“It’s not a wonder drug but it certainly has some potential,” said Dr. Robert Wolff, a co-author and researcher with Kleijnen Systematic Reviews Ltd., a research company in York, England.

[An] editorial by two Yale University psychiatrists suggests enthusiasm for medical marijuana has outpaced rigorous research and says widespread use should wait for better evidence. Federal and state governments should support and encourage such research, the editorial says.

Surprisingly, increased consumption of Ben & Jerry’s was not listed as a common side effect.

Gay marriage may have more support across the nation, but rural areas appear less likely to support it, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

In Schley County, near Americus, about 91 percent of voters endorsed a ban in the state Constitution that is still in effect today.

David Theiss, who chairs the county’s Republican Party, doubts that many have altered their opinion.

“I haven’t seen God change the Bible yet,” said Theiss, who is also mayor of Ellaville, “and he’s the one who created marriage between Adam and Eve.”

While the general public has warmed to gay marriage — a Pew Research Center survey found 57 percent of Americans favor it, up from 42 percent five years ago — religious Americans remain opposed.

That isn’t likely to change, regardless of how the high court rules this month, said Charles S. Bullock III, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.

“If you believe the Bible tells you it’s a sin, the fact that a court comes along and says it isn’t a sin is not going to change your mind,” Bullock said. “In your hierarchy, the Bible is going to come ahead of everything else.”

That’s certainly the case in Echols County, where about 91 percent of voters approved the ban in 2004.

Rep. John Corbett, R-Lake Park, said scripture alone is what shapes public sentiment there.

“If that vote was taken again today, I think you would get the same results,” he said.

Bullock said that’s likely true in all of the counties where voters passed the ban in convincing fashion — and there were many.

Statewide, 76 percent of voters supported the Constitutional amendment. The measure passed with more than 90 percent approval in two-dozen rural counties.

The most enthusiastic audience came in Pierce County, where the ban passed with nearly 94 percent of the vote.

Nearly half of the counties where the amendment found the most success form a cluster near Pierce County, in the southeast corner of the state.

23
Jun

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 23, 2015

Bayou

Bayou is a 7-year old, 90-pound female Labrador Retriever and Bloodhound mix who will be giving birth to a litter of puppies soon.

She presents herself as a sweetly shy, unless food is involved. With food, she becomes animated and super happy! Her sad houndy, droopy face lights up. And boy does she have a nose for food!

Bayou is a beautiful girl. She’ll make a wonderful family dog. Step one of her new life journey is to have and wean healthy babies. Next, it will be Bayou’s turn to find her very own family, where she will be their “baby”. We’ll keep you posted on this family’s progress.

Bayou is available for adoption from Atlanta Dog Squad in Roswell, GA. If you’re not prepared to help a new Mama but would like a dog like this, you could talk to her rescue group about adopting her once the puppies are weaned.

Sarah

Sarah is an adult female Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix. Sarah is a sweet and active girl. She loves to run and play. As you can also see she is quite beautiful. She can chase a ball but please don’t expect her to bring it back! Sara gets along well with other dogs but prefers a home without cats. Sarah desperately needs a foster or permanent home to avoid an uncertain fate. If you are interested in more information or meeting Sarah, please call David Butler at 404-597-7948. Sarah is available for adoption from Second Chance Animal Rescue & Adoptions in Roswell, GA.

Zachary

Zachary is an adult male Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix described as the sweetest boy you could ever find. He loves attention and gets along with everyone! His favorite activity is prancing around with a toy in his mouth seeking your attention. After being in flux for several years he has found a loving foster home but desperately needs a permanent home. If you are looking for a sweet, low maintenance loving boy Zach is the dog for you! Please call David Butler @404-597-7948. Zachary is available for adoption from Second Chance Animal Rescue & Adoptions in Roswell, GA.

Turkey Dogs 2 Adopt Golden Atlanta

After bringing in 36 Golden Retrievers who had been abandoned in Turkey, Adopt A Golden Atlanta has sponsored another “Freedom Flight” to bring an additional 15 Golden Retrievers from Turkey to Atlanta. Please consider making an online donation to support Adopt A Golden Atlanta and the Turkey Dogs.

Click here to donate online. Or you can donate via Go Fund Me and see some of the Turkey Dogs.

Click here to meet the Turkey Dogs and the other beautiful Golden Retrievers adoptable via Adopt A Golden Atlanta.

 

23
Jun

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

On June 23, 903 AD, the Icelandic Parliament, the Althing or Althingi, was established and is the world’s oldest.

In honor of the Icelandic Parliament, here’s the greatest Icelandic band ever, the Sugarcubes, playing at Auburn in 1988.

Off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, British Commodore Sir Peter Parker spent June 23, 1776 preparing to land the next day, charged with supporting loyalists to the British crown.

On June 23, 1819, Texas declared its independence from Spain.

On June 23, 1862, General Robert E. Lee met with his commanders in preparation for what would be known as the Seven Days’ Battles.

On June 23, 1865, Georgia-born Cherokee Stand Watie became the last Confederate general to surrender.

On June 23, 1888, Frederick Douglass became the first African-American nominated for President, receiving one vote from Kentucky at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Former Atlanta mayor Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. died on June 23, 2003.

Georgia Political Events

Next Wednesday, July 1, 2015 from 7-8:30 PM, DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester will host a Town Hall Meeting on How To Appeal Your DeKalb County Property Value Assessment at Dunwoody City Hall 41 Perimeter Center East, Dunwoody, GA 30346.

On Saturday, July 11, 2015, the Fulton County Republican Party will host a breakfast and HD 48 Candidate Forum with Dave McCleary and Dr. Betty Price at Country Club of Roswell, 2500 Club Springs Drive, Roswell, Georgia 30076. Doors open at 8:30 AM and the program Starts PROMPTLY at 9:00 AM and ends at 10 AM. Click here to register.

On Saturday, August 15, 2015 from 5 to 7 PM, Oglethorpe County GOP is hosting a pancake supper and gun raffle for a MPAR 556 Gen I Rifle made by MasterPiece Arms in Comer, Ga. Lexington Baptist Church, 103 W Church Street, Lexington, GA 30648. $6.00 per person for Pancake Supper. Raffle tickets $5 each or $20 for 5. Click here for more information from the Oglethorpe County GOP.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Dave McCleary Pat Geisinger

Yesterday, Dave McClery released a robocall from Pat Geisinger, the widow of the late State Rep. Harry Geisinger,

Hello, this is Pat Geisinger. I’m calling you today to express my entire family’s support for Dave McCleary. My husband Harry passed this May, but for the past twelve years he served you as State Representative right here in District 48. When he spoke of retirement, Dave McCleary was always the man he wanted to succeed him. Dave worked closely with Harry on important legislation for the betterment of children. Harry believed in Dave McCleary.

This is Pat Geisinger, asking you to trust my husband once again and on July 14th, vote for Harry’s choice, Dave McCleary. Thank you for listening.

Voters are going to the polls for early voting in House District 155, according to the Tifton Gazette.

The seat was vacated by Rep. Jay Roberts, who has will serve as planning director for the Georgia Department of Transportation. Candidates Scott Lowell Downing, Horace Hudgins, Sherry Miley and Clay Pirkle are looking to fill the unexpired term of Roberts.

Advanced voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Election Central, located at 222 Chesnutt Ave., Building B, and end at 5 p.m. July 10.

The election office will be closed July 3 in observance of Independence Day, but will be open July 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., pursuant to Georgia Election Code 21-2-385. There will be no voting July 13.

I’ve never heard of voting on July 4th before, but America!

Voters will also have the option of voting on July 4th in the House District 146 race, which features Republicans Shaw Blackmon, Kelly Burke, and Larry Walker, III.

Butts County Board of Education is considering lowering the millage rate as property valuations are up across the County.

Former Murray County Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran, who was convicted of drug and witness tampering charges, had his sentencing pushed back to July 8 in federal court in Rome, GA.

The Development Authority of Cobb County will likely give a $75k grant and additional tax breaks from a $10 million bond issue to keep Genuine Parts in the Cumberland area.

The Richmond County Board of Elections will remove from voter rolls 500 voters registered at now-demolished apartment complexes who have not updated their residence information.

On Wednesday from 5-6 PM, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis will hold office hours along with District 1 Commissioner Bill Fennoy at Metro Market, 561 Broad Street in downtown Augusta.

In a story out of the Palmetto State, Aiken County, SC is reviewing communications guidelines with an eye toward restricting the use of personal email accounts for official communications. Anywhere this passes, we dub it “The Hillary Clinton Rule.”

[Aiken County Administrator Clay] Killian said that under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act, all e-mails sent and received by elected officials are considered government record and can be requested by the public, but without a local policy in place it’s unclear how Aiken County should store messages kept on private servers – and for how long.

“We don’t have a policy at the moment and we need to address that,” Killian said.

In Aiken County, Killian said all council members are issued public e-mail addresses but that most use their personal accounts “out of convenience.”

He described the process of checking a public e-mail account as “cumbersome,” particularly for council members who do not have a smartphone or tablet and would need to log into the county’s system from a remote location.

“It is a practical matter,” Kil­lian said. “They spend most of their time at home, not in county offices.”

Under Augusta’s personnel policy and procedures manual, “users shall not utilize any electronic mail services other than those maintained by Augusta’s Infor­mation Technology De­part­ment.” It specifically prohibits AOL, Yahoo, Hot­mail, Mail City, and MSN services.

It’s never too early to start identifying the next generation of campaign clients potential District Attorneys. In Savannah, 22 students are taking part in a summer program, the Summer Law Institute in District Attorney Meg Heap’s office.

Their courtroom was a borrowed Chatham County Commission meeting room. Their venue was a fictitious “Milton County.” Their criminal case, a reckless driving with injuries. Never occurred.

For two weeks, 16 assistant district attorneys and several assistant public defenders worked with four teams of kids on preparations for Mock Trial Competition, including how to ask questions and what to ask.

Several speakers addressed the students on such items as life skills, etiquette and how to dress for the real world. As part of the program, each participant was provided with a white shirt and ties, all in an effort to impart the need for decorum in the real world. For some, just tying a tie was a first-time experience.

Working with McLeod and grant writer Kristin Fulford, Heap and her staff received a $220,000 U.S. departments of Justice and Health and Human Services for a Minority Youth Violence Prevention Program at Memorial University Medical Center.

Some of that grant money was used for the law institute.

22
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 22, 2015

Georgia and American History

On June 22, 1633, Galileo Galilei recanted his published theory that stated the sun was the center of the world and the earth was not.

Georgia’s Trustees voted on June 22, 1737 to seek bids for building churches at Savannah and Frederica.

Georgia Whigs voted on June 22, 1775 to join a boycott against British goods. That same day, the Continental Congress approved the issuance of $2 million in debt-backed currency.

The donut was invented on June 22, 1847.

The Battle of Kolb’s Farm was fought near Marietta, Georgia on June 22, 1864.

The United States Department of Justice was established on June 22, 1870.

On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill.

On June 22, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed a law extending the 26th Amendment Right to Vote at age 18 to all federal, state, and local elections.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Brace yourselves for 17 months of “Hillary Clinton can do what Michelle Nunn didn’t.” From the AJC:

Georgia has quietly become part of Hillary Clinton’s general election plans, even as her campaign accelerates its focus on key primary states.

Clinton’s advisers won’t talk publicly about anything beyond the Democratic primary. But they are telling local politicos that Georgia is a “Tier Two” state. As in, it’s not a swing state, but it could be.

That’s a steep climb in a state that saw Democratic hopes rise on the backs of a legacy ticket for governor and U.S. Senate in 2014, only to see neither Jason Carter nor Michelle Nunn surpass 45.2 percent. Democrats, however, see new opportunity in big presidential-year turnout as the state’s demographics slowly shift their way.

Continue Reading..

22
Jun

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 22, 2015

Beep Bop Bo

Beep, Bop, Bo are 3 adorable little Labrador Retriever/Boxer puppies. Beep is the chocolate girl (ID 575106). The other two are boys, (ID 575107 and ID 575108). These babies will be spayed/neutered and micro-chipped upon adoption. Come see them in the puppy room soon! Beep, Bop, and Bo are available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter.

9puppies2

This litter includes 9 little 6-week old Hound puppies who are available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter. They are all ready to find a new home. They came in with their mom as strays. Their mom was a good mom and got them ready to find their new forever home. They have all been spayed or neutered and have had their first set of shots. They will need their boosters as directed by your vet.

Their Shelter ID numbers are 575110, 575111, 575112, 575113, 575114, 575115, 575116, 575117, 575118.

9puppies1

Christopher Jennings

Christopher and Jennings are 6-month old Labrador Retriever puppies who were found stray with two other dogs. Their owners were contacted but didn’t want them back. They are available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter.

Christopher and Jennings are just babies at 6 months old and at the perfect age to begin their obedience training. Christopher is the smaller one and currently weighing 32 lbs, and Jennings is about 39 lbs currently. Both are current on their vaccines and will be neutered, heartworm tested and micro chipped upon adoption. Christopher’s ID # is 575368 and Jenning’s ID # is 575367. The boys can be found together in cage 833.

19
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 19, 2015

On June 20, 1732, the signing of the Georgia Charter was completed by the British government.

Georgia’s Trustees voted on June 22, 1737 to seek bids for building churches at Savannah and Frederica.

Georgia’s Royal Colony Seal was approved on June 21, 1754.

Georgia Colony Seal

Georgia Whigs voted on June 22, 1775 to join a boycott against British goods. That same day, the Continental Congress approved the issuance of $2 million in debt-backed currency.

Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States on June 20, 1782.

On June 20, 1819, the SS Savannah entered the port at Liverpool, England, marking the first transatlantic crossing by a steam-powered ship, having sailed out of Savannah on May 20th.

The Georgia Whig Party held its first convention on June 19, 1843 in Milledgeville and elected ten delegates to the 1844 National Convention.

The first Republican National Convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended on June 19, 1856.

The Republicans, who called for the abolition of slavery in all U.S. territories, rapidly gained supporters in the North, and in 1856 their first presidential candidate, John Fremont, won 11 of the 16 Northern states. By 1860, the majority of Southern states were publicly threatening secession if a Republican won the presidency.

The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the official party of the victorious North. After the war, the Republican-dominated Congress forced a radical Reconstruction policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and granting voting rights to African American men in the South. By 1876, the Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the presidency, with a few intermissions, until the ascendance of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

On June 19, 1864, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated from Pine Mountain and Lost Mountain toward Marietta. Click here to watch a two-minute video by Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center about this week in Georgia in 1864.

On the same day, USS Kearsarge sank CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France in one of the most-celebrated naval battles of the Civil War.

Under its captain, Raphael Semmes, the Alabama prowled the world for three years, capturing U.S. commercial ships. It sailed around the globe, usually working out of the West Indies, but taking prizes and bungling Union shipping in the Caribbean, off Newfoundland, and around the coast of South America. In January 1863, Semmes sunk a Union warship, the Hatteras, after luring it out of Galveston, Texas.

During its career, the Alabama captured 66 ships and was hunted by more than 20 Federal warships.

General Robert E. Lee moved on Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg, Virginia on June 20, 1864.

On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill.

A lynch mob including members of the KKK killed three young civil rights activists who were trying to register African-Americans to vote near Meridian, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.

When Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney, a young black man, were coming back from a trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi, deputy sheriff Cecil Price, who was also a Klan member, pulled them over for speeding. He then held them in custody while other KKK members prepared for their murder. Eventually released, the three activists were later chased down in their car and cornered in a secluded spot in the woods where they were shot and then buried in graves that had been prepared in advance.

When news of their disappearance got out, the FBI converged on Mississippi to investigate. With the help of an informant, agents learned about the Klan’s involvement and found the bodies. Since Mississippi refused to prosecute the assailants in state court, the federal government charged 18 men with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney.

John W. Hinckley, Jr. was acquitted of attempted murder of President Ronald Reagan and others in the Presidential party by reason on insanity on June 21, 1982.

Voters in Sandy Springs approved the new city’s incorporation on June 21, 2005.

Georgia Politics

On July 14, 2015, voters in Houston County will go to the polls to elect a new State Representative in District 146.  The three candidates met in a forum yesterday.

Shaw Blackmon, Kelly Burke and Larry Walker III participated in a forum at the Houston County school board office on Thursday, and the three men held similar opinions on most issues.

“I’m running because we need the right leader with the right experience to move Houston County forward,” Walker said, echoing a theme of focusing on Houston County interests that ran throughout the evening.

Walker and Blackmon both talked about their experience in leadership roles in Houston County, where both men also grew up.

“I attended public schools here, rode the school bus and ate in the cafeteria,” Blackmon said.

Burke noted that the men agreed on a lot of the issues. The difference, Burke said, was in how he would handle the position, if elected.

“We don’t disagree on much,” he said. “However, I’m the fighter that you need to go up there and do the fighting.”

Continue Reading..

19
Jun

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 19, 2015

All dogs at Gwinnett County Animal Shelter are urgent. The shelter is full and may have to euthanize for space.

45387

Bones (above and below) is an adult male Golden Retriever mix who was surrendered by his owner and is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter. He is in Pen 155.

Bones

45285

Number 45285 is an adult male Flat-Coated Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter, where he is in Pen 109.

45100

45100 is a very friendly, large American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter, where he is in Pen 102.

18
Jun

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 18, 2015

Today’s dogs are chosen by Mrs. GaPundit in honor of Florence Bascom, who was died on this date in 1945. Bascom was the first woman to receive a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University and the first woman to work as a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Stone

This is Stone, a Dutch Shepherd mix. Stone was given up by a military family who had to transfer to a base that would not allow them to bring him with them. Stone is a sweet, outgoing dog that loves to play and receive attention-he is smart and is affectionate to everyone he meets. He knows some basic commands and is accustomed to living in a home with kids. Stone is good with other dogs (he is untested with cats). Stone is housebroken, neutered, current on shots and on heartworm prevention. He was so sad to have lost his home and would really like to be adopted soon.

Stone is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

Crystal

0347 Crystal is a white female adult Bulldog mix with brindle markings. This sweet mamma dog has had her pups adopted and now it is her turn. She is two to three years old and a doll! Crystal is available for adoption from Warner Robins Animal Control in Warner Robins, GA.

Rocky

Rocky is an adult male Pekingese with a beautiful white coat and a missing eye. He is available for adoption from All Paws Considered, Inc. in Marietta, GA.

18
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 18, 2015

British forces under General Sir Henry Clinton left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1778 after occupying the former capital for nine months.

On June 18, 1807, commissioners from Georgia and North Carolina agreed to recognize the 35th parallel as the boundary between the two states. North Carolina conducted a survey that placed the boundary further South than the 35th parallel, though Georgia never accepted the survey and continues to argue that the 35th is the proper boundary against both North Carolina and Tennessee.

As of today, the dispute with Tennessee continues.

The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, as President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain passed by the House and Senate.

On June 18, 1873, Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for illegally voting in Rochester, New York. At the conclusion of her trial, the judge read a statement that, “The Fourteenth Amendment gives no right to a woman to vote, and the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the law,” and directed the jury to convict her. Anthony responded,

“Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled underfoot every vital principle of our government,” Anthony said. “My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.”

The Southern Railway Company was organized on June 18, 1894 and through predecessor railroads traces its heritage to the nation’s first regularly-scheduled railroad service, The Best Friend of Charleston. Samuel Spencer, of Columbus, Georgia, was the first President of the Southern. In the 1980s, the Southern merged with Norfolk & Western Railway to form Norfolk Southern.

Georgia Political Events

Today from 9 AM till noon, the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Road Show pulls up to the Georgia International Convention Center, located at 2000 Convention Center Concourse, College Park GA 30337 with additional stops upcoming in Decatur, St Simons Island, Valdosta, and Savannah.

Sen. Brandon Beach (R – Alpharetta) will host a Cherokee County transportation town hall at the Cherokee County Government Building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Thursday, June 18th. The town hall will focus on the status of transportation infrastructure in Cherokee County, and what the Georgia General Assembly along with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) are doing to address the needs of Cherokee County.Continue Reading..