Gene Hoyt Vandiver, 34, of Richmond Hill, was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury sitting in Savannah on charges related to the burning of a cross in his neighbor’s yard. Vandiver was charged with one count of interfering with housing rights and with one count of arson. Vandiver had his initial appearance in federal court before United States Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith on Oct. 10.
According to information presented in court, Vandiver, who is white, allegedly burned a cross in the yard of his neighbor, whom Vandiver believed to be African-American. Vandiver also left a sign in his neighbor’s yard with a racial slur and a hand-drawn picture of a person being lynched.
Skidaway Marine Science Day attendees will get a rare chance to see a hatchling loggerhead sea turtle.
Rider, the University of Georgia Aquarium’s hatchling, will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the event at the north end of Skidaway Island. UGA said in a news release that the Science Day event is free.
The Savannah House Democrats hosted a townhall meeting on the Affordable Health Care Act Saturday at Savannah State University. The meeting was hosted by State Representatives Mickey Stephens, Bob Bryant and J. Craig Gordon. Frank VanEllison, lead outreach and enrollment specialist and Riley Wells, a representative for Get Covered America, were the guest speakers and both stressed the importance of gaining knowledge in order to pick the plan that would best suit the needs of those in attendance and their families.
Topics addressed at the meeting included financial assistance and subsidies, as well as the 10 essential benefits covered under every plan, which include ambulatory services, lab services and maternity and newborn care.
Six pudgy little index fingers shot up overhead.
Pre-kindergarten teacher Sherrell Robinson asked everyone seated around the activity station to raise their reading fingers while she passed out colorful nursery rhyme cards.
“Now put your wiggly on the words and repeat after me,” she said.
As Robinson read the rhyme, the six students pointed down at their cards and followed along with their fingers.
“Hickory, dickory, dock,” Robinson read enthusiastically. “The mouse ran up the clock.”
The 4-year-olds repeated.
“Hickowy, dickowy, dock!”
It was a typically busy day in the pre-kindergarten classes at Spencer Elementary. Small groups of students went to activity stations around the room for lessons designed to help them build strong social and academic skills.
Some read stories, some drew pictures of what they had seen on their field trip to Forsyth Park and others learned the letters in their names. Then they used chubby, yellow pencils to trace over simple sentences and write words related to their lessons.
“We’re showing them how to read and write from left to right and getting them to discuss their ideas and express them in writing,” Robinson said.
Everyone was interested and eager to participate — from 4-year-old David Coates, who was already able to read Dr. Seuss’ “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” on his own, to Za’Miah La’Nasia Worthen, who was mastering her writing skills.
St. Catherines is a place that plays against type.
In a state that prides itself on its English heritage it once hosted a Spanish mission.
Along a coast renowned for its native beauty it’s home to African lemurs and hartebeests.
Among islands publicly owned or privately developed it remains the unspoiled domain of a charitable foundation.
Last week the 14,000-acre Liberty County island served up another surprise when the Most Rev. Gregory J. Hartmayer, the Bishop of Savannah, visited for the first time in his two years at the helm of the diocese.
A Franciscan priest, Hartmayer went to pay his respects to the memory of two 16th century Franciscan friars who, the story goes, were martyred on St. Catherines defending the sanctity of marriage against a polygamous Guale Indian leader.
But evidence on St. Catherines is building a different narrative, and the archaeologists revealing it are racing against the rapid erosion that’s eating away at the island’s history.
Lawrenceville U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall announced this week that his FairTax legislation has more support in the House of Representatives than ever.
The 73rd co-sponsor signed onto the legislation, which would replace the current income and payroll taxes with a federal sales tax.
“For far too long the existing tax code has been an economic drain on our country. America’s job creators are handcuffed by oppressive tax regulations and consequently seek less costly environments overseas,” Woodall said. “With the United States having the highest corporate income tax rates in the entire world, it can come as no surprise that businesses are going elsewhere. It is estimated that over $10 trillion is currently being held offshore, but with passage of the FairTax we can incentivize businesses to bring that money back to our shores. When they invest and grow their business, they employ our neighbors.”
The proposal was originally introduced in 1999 by Gwinnett Rep. John Linder, whom Woodall replaced in 2011. Support has increased, thanks to grassroots support, officials said.
“This huge benchmark speaks to the dedication of everyone who has worked so diligently to advance the legislation,” Woodall said. “Not only has the FairTax gained more supporters than ever before, we have had the first hearing in the Ways and Means Committee in a decade and included FairTax language in every House Budget Resolution since January 2011. We’ve been promised a vote in the committee when the time comes, and everything we do until that point must be focused on bolstering that opportunity.”
Between her daughter’s soccer games and her son’s cross country meets, Paige Havens has probably visited every park in Gwinnett County in recent years.
And she’s crossed a lot of roads to get there.
Add on the police and paramedics ready for an emergency if she needs them and the libraries filled with books for the next school project, and the Havens family is surrounded by the infrastructure built over more than two decades by county sales tax dollars.
“Everywhere I turn I am touched by those SPLOST dollars,” Havens said of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which has been a part of the county’s funding mechanism for nearly all of the 25 years she has lived in Gwinnett. “It has truly impacted our family’s quality of life.”
With a proposed renewal of the 1 percent sales tax on Nov. 5 ballots, the marketing maven volunteered to campaign for the tax, which is the only matter on countywide ballots this fall.
“I am constantly reminded, almost daily,” of the benefits, Haven said. “Anything that can help offset my propert taxes I’m all for.”
But for Steve Ramey, any tax is a bad tax.
The co-founder of the Gwinnett Tea Party has watched the county government propose the sales tax a couple of times a decade for 25 years and he’s never voted yes.
“I can’t imagine me wanting to pay more taxes. We are taxed to death,” Ramey said.
“It’s not really special anymore,” he added, pointing out that the Legislature allowed the provision for a short term, pointing out within its very name that it is for a “special purpose.”
But in Gwinnett — and many other places in metro Atlanta — the tax has become a part of the usual tax code. It has been collected constantly since 1988, with the exception of one year in the mid ’90s when voters rejected the ballot measure giving all of the funding toward transportation. When officials proposed an allocation the next year that spread the money over parks, libraries and police and fire stations and equipment as well as road funding, voters allowed the tax to return.
WASHINGTON — Like self-loathing adrenaline junkies, members of Congress live on the brink while claiming not to like it.
Witness the repeated professions of hate for “brinkmanship” by members of both parties as they waltz toward the precipice. But there’s little reason to believe governing by crisis will end anytime soon. Continue reading
At one point, former DeKalb County school Superintendent Crawford Lewis was depicted as a criminal mastermind in a scheme involving millions of dollars of taxpayer money.
Then, last week, prosecutors let him plead guilty to one misdemeanor count, reducing him to a bit player. His possible time behind bars dropped from decades to mere months, if that. Continue reading