The blog.

15
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 15, 2017

On August 15, 1903, Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation requiring that Georgia schools teach elementary agriculture and civics. Two days later, on August 17, 1903, the General Assembly condemned the practice of whipping female inmates.

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty promising to give the Canal to Panama.

Georgia Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Forestry on August 15, 1921.

On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Festival began in upstate New York.

Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppolla was released on August 15, 1979.

Paul Anderson, known for years as the “Strongest Man in the World” for his weightlifting feats, died on August 15, 1994 in Vidalia, Georgia. Anderson was born in 1932 in Toccoa, Georgia. He won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of weightlifting in 1956.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order suspending Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman from office for thirty days for thirty days.

From CBS46:

Gov. Nathan Deal has suspended Walton County Sheriff Joseph Chapman for 30 days following an investigation into his May 2016 arrest in Florida.

Surveillance video shows Chapman and Major Kipling Mercer get into a scuffle last May.  Both men were arrested.

Our investigation found they never reported the incident to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council within 15 days as required.

Attorney General Chris Carr investigated the incident and according to a letter he sent to the governor, “Sheriff Chapman indicated to the committee that he regretted not having reported this matter to P.O.S.T. at an earlier time, but stated he was unaware of the 15-day reporting requirement.”

The Sheriff’s suspension will take effect on Wednesday, August 16. CBS46 asked the governor’s office if the suspension will be with or without pay and a spokesperson said it’s a county decision.

In addition, P.O.S.T. is investigating the incident and could take up the issue in October.

Senator Johnny Isakson held a Town Hall at Kennesaw State University last night.

Isakson’s first remarks were a stern rebuke of the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend and received a standing ovation for doing so. The senator singled out the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other racist groups as having no place in American discourse.“We can have differences over a lot of things, but there’s never going to be a difference over human dignity, the right to life and the right to live in the freest, greatest country on Earth without fear of intimidation because of your race, your religion, your sex, your national origin or any other factor,” Isakson said.

One of the hottest topics of the night was health care. An advocate for people with developmental disabilities from Temple asked Isakson why he voted for the failed Senate health care plan that would have stripped insurance from millions of Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he did not like the bills, but voted for them with the belief that the plan would be improved in a conference committee.

“I couldn’t get to where I wanted to go unless I followed the road that led me there,” Isakson said. “If I was going to downtown Atlanta and didn’t get on 75, I probably couldn’t get there. But getting on 75 and fighting traffic would eventually get me where I wanted to go. And where you are is where I wanted to go.”

Many of the questioners said they wanted Congressional leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to expand Medicaid in Georgia.

Isakson did not commit to either of those actions, but said he will work to ensure Americans have access to health care.

“I know how lucky I’ve been all my life, how fortunate to live in America,” he said, adding that he does not intend for the government to cut services for people with disabilities.

Isakson said he wants to replace the individual mandate with “something better,” and gave the example of how requiring drivers to have auto insurance to get their license increased the number of people with auto insurance in Georgia.

The Fulton County Board of Elections voted against a proposal to change some voting precinct locations.

The Fulton County Board of Elections met on Monday to discuss proposed changes to several polling locations in predominately black neighborhoods in Fulton County.

The board voted to reject those changes for now.

After many voters said the changes would affect mainly African-Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union fired back with a lawsuit, claiming voters weren’t given proper notice of the changes. That lawsuit was filed on July 18.

Georgia law requires election officials to publish proposed polling place changes for at least 14 consecutive days before approving them. The Board had published the proposed changes just 6 days in advance.

State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) now says she’s unlikely to run for Mayor of Roswell.

Dr. Price, the former City Council member and wife of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, said she is considering the run “like anything else,” but the likelihood of her running is not a great one.

“I’m very happy where I am in the legislature, and our issues there are in line with my experience,” she said, adding it would not be “wise” to abandon the State House District 48 seat to run for mayor. “I can’t imagine running, but a lot of people are encouraging me.”

The man who filed the lawsuit against Wood, Michael Litten, has already declared his candidacy several months ahead of next week’s qualifying period.

When asked if she planned to endorse anyone, Price said she will most likely sit on the sidelines, as it will be a “good sport to watch” candidates battle for the hearts and minds of Roswell voters.

 

The Muscogee County School District will ask Board of Education members to approve a loan to address a delay in property tax collections.

The Muscogee County School District administration plans to ask the school board next week to approve a resolution authorizing a short-term loan that would plug the expected gap in delayed local revenue as the Columbus Consolidated Government deals with thousands of appeals from property owners upset about their assessments soaring by as much as tenfold.

The delay is a bigger issue for the school board than the Columbus Council because MCSD receives a larger percentage of the Columbus property tax revenue than the Columbus Consolidated Government, approximately a 60-40 split, and 41 percent of MCSD’s fiscal year 2018 revenue is expected to come from local property taxes while the figure is 31 percent for CCG.

Although the school district previously announced it postponed nonessential expenditures while CCG deals with the property tax controversy, MCSD chief financial officer Theresa Thornton told the Muscogee County School Board during its monthly work session Monday evening the administration now recommends securing a Tax Anticipation Note.

If the board approves the resolution during its Aug. 21 meeting, Thornton said, the administration must decide by the September meeting whether to seek the loan through a request for proposals or an invitation to bid for the funds to be available by October and for MCSD to pay back the loan by the end of December.

The University of Georgia New Faculty Tour stopped in Tifton and Griffin, where Georgia Agriculture was highlighted.

The tour, which introduces new UGA faculty members to economic mainstays throughout the state during a five-day trip, visited the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) at UGA-Griffin Wednesday. Thursday, the tour stopped at UGA-Tifton, where faculty visited the energy-efficient Future Farmstead home and learned about peanut breeding and dairy research, according to a UGA press release.

“We are very happy the New Faculty Tour made a stop at the Griffin campus this year,” said Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and UGA-Griffin director. “They had a great tour and a great meal and I think they left impressed with what we offer at the Griffin campus.”

n terms of Georgia agricultural production, which totaled $13.8 billion in farm gate value in 2015, UGA-Tifton is an important stop on the tour every year, said Joe West, assistant dean for UGA-Tifton.

“What makes Georgia agriculture unique is its diversity,” West said. “Multiple commodities dominate the agricultural landscape and I’m glad we are able to showcase a few of those.”

“It is important for these new faculty members to learn about the importance of agriculture to the state and the many ways the University of Georgia is helping Georgia farmers sustain their operations,” said Laura Meadows, UGA interim vice president for public service and outreach. “Most of the faculty members on the tour are new to Georgia, many are new to the South, and they need to understand the major drivers of the economy here.”

Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart is on the defense for allegedly partying at a strip club.

While partying at Rumors strip club on a Friday night, several customers recognized him and called a local Forest Park councilwoman.

“They said he was a mess, dancing on stage, twirling his shirt around, walking around, and falling over on people. People holding him up,” said Latresa Wells.

We caught up with Mayor Lockhart at the ribbon cutting for a new restaurant in the city.  He explained before he was Mayor, he was a lead singer in a band and he likes to entertain people.

Then, we showed him a picture sent to us of him, apparently wearing a bra in the middle of the barroom.

“That’s just outrageous, isn’t it? It looks outrageous to me,” admitted Lockhart. “Not sure if that’s a tank or what. In any case, would I advertise that? No, absolutely not. I wouldn’t advertise that, but it’s ok to act silly from time to time, in the right circumstances.”

City Councilwoman Sandra Bagley defends her Mayor and believes all the attention is due to the fact that David Lockhart is up for reelection.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think its trial in media.  Exactly what I feel, trial in media during an election year,” said Bagley.

But councilwoman Wells, an admitted political adversary sees it differently.

“You represent everyone who voted for you to be Mayor of our city. It’s not only embarrassing to your family and council members; it’s embarrassing to the entire city.”

The Hall County Board of Education voted to fund a program called “We Celebrate All That Unites Us” in response to Charlottesville.

Augusta National Golf Club is suing to prevent the sale of a green jacket.

Augusta National Inc. filed the federal lawsuit against Florida-based Green Jacket Auctions Inc. seeking to stop the company from selling a champion’s green jacket and two member green jackets, as well as silverware and a belt buckle bearing Augusta National’s map and flag logo.

The jacket may not be removed from the Augusta National grounds except during the first year after it is presented, according to the lawsuit. After that first year, the jacket must be stored on Augusta National premises and can only be used on the grounds and during the annual tournament. Augusta National said it owns the jackets, and the champions have “possessory rights” when they’re on Augusta National grounds.

The same rules apply to the member green jackets, except they may never leave Augusta National grounds, the lawsuit says. Each jacket is marked for identification and authenticity.

“It appears that Augusta National Golf Club is attempting to assert ownership claims to every green jacket ever produced, regardless of who currently owns or possesses the jackets,” Green Jacket Auctions co-owner Ryan Carey said in an email. “Obviously we at Green Jacket Auctions dispute such claims, and will litigate the matter, if necessary.”

The jacket was where it was supposed to be, in storage at Augusta National, during a physical inventory in 2009. But a recent check determined that it is now missing, the lawsuit says. It is unclear how the jacket and other items ended up on the auction block.

By mid-afternoon Monday, the online bidding on the jacket, which closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, had reached $114,874.

Former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand pled guilty to taking a $100,000 bribe.

Grand jurors indicted Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby, 54, of Forsyth on charges of conspiracy to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity, and five counts of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In a move related to the indictment, former school Superintendent Romain Dallemand, 49, pleaded guilty in Florida Wednesday to filing a false tax return for 2012, under-reporting his income and over-reporting his itemized deductions, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.

The indictment, unsealed Friday morning, said Whitby approached Dallemand sometime between August 2011 and June 2012 “to ensure Dallemand would support” the Promise Neighborhood plan. That was an ambitious project designed to help transform the impoverished Unionville and Tindall Heights neighborhoods so students there — and their families — would have better lives.

Later, Whitby “offered Dallemand $100,000 for his support.” Dallemand, the indictment said, “accepted this offer and agreed to support” the program.

Later, Whitby offered Dallemand 10 percent of the $1 million the school district would contribute to the Promise Neighborhood program each year, the indictment said. “Thus, Whitby indicated that Dallemand would be paid $100,000 every year for 10 years for his continued support” of the program.

Dallemand accepted this offer and “understood that he needed to ensure the (Bibb County school district) continued to financially support” the Promise Neighborhood plan.

Dallemand received a $100,000 check from Whitby on Nov. 19, 2012, “with assistance from” Harold Knowles, part owner of Pinnacle/CSG, a Florida-based construction company that was contracted to provide software to the Bibb school system in 2012, according to Dallemand’s plea agreement.

2018 Elections

State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), a candidate for Governor in 2018, called for the removal of the Stone Mountain carving.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.”

“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union,” Abrams said in a series of tweets posted early Tuesday, a response to the deadly violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va.

The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be “preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville) held a rally in Buford last night.

Atlanta resident Angelic Moore considers herself a “huge supporter” of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and his wife, Nina — so much so that she hopped in her car and drove to Buford on Monday night to show it.

Moore was among the supporters who attended the Women for Cagle Rally at the Buford Community Center. The event was a launch of sorts for the Cagle campaign’s effort to reach out to women voters, although there were a few men and several children in the crowd as well.

More than 60 people attended the rally, including local officials, grassroots Republican activists and families. The event was first of several campaign events Cagle will attend around north Georgia throughout the week.

It was sort of a hybrid between a political rally and an end of summer party, with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office showing off its Jail Dogs program in the parking lot and a balloon artist making balloon animals and play toys for kids.

Cagle also laid out his vision for the state as he addressed the crowd. He said he wanted to address Medicaid issues to make sure groups such as senior citizens, the blind and people with disabilities can get medical care while still being fiscally responsible.

Cagle also pledged to cut taxes by $100 million for a family of four, to create 500,000 new jobs, to invest infrastructure, such as building out the road system, and to focus on workforce development.

“When you look at Georgia, there is so much opportunity, so much chance, to be first in class in every category, and we’re going to do that,” he said.

Buford-based Sen. Renee Unterman, who is the Women for Cagle chairwoman, said the idea behind the group is to highlight women-related topics, such as health issues, medical care and issues facing the elderly.

“Women for Cagle is focusing on those types of issues, and we have Nurses for Cagle and different groups to get women out to vote,” Unterman said. “We’re excited about it.”

14
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2017

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

A Special Session called by Governor Miller to address legislative redistricting after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map was convened on August 14, 1995.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Netroots Nation attendees this past weekend shouted down Democratic State Representative Stacey Evans.

Democrat Stacey Evans’ speech to a conference of progressive activists descended into chaos on Saturday, as protesters interrupted her repeatedly and she struggled to make herself heard over chants of “support black women.”

Almost as soon as she took the stage, a ring of demonstrators – some holding stark signs criticizing her – fanned out in front of Evans. The chanting soon followed. Pleading repeatedly for the room to speaks – “let’s talk through it,” she implored – the demonstrators at times drowned her out.

One of the demonstrators, Monica Simpson, said she made her stand because she wanted to show she was “true to progressive values.”

Asked why Evans hasn’t met that standard, Simpson couldn’t point to any votes or policy stances. But she said she wants “a candidate that truly speaks to my community.”

“This is our opportunity, especially as black women, to make it known or clear that this is standing on true progressive values,” said Simpson, who lives in Atlanta. “And if you’re not, we’re going to make that clear.”

Abrams said in a statement that she would not “condemn peaceful protest” and that the demonstrators were voicing their concern with Evans’ support for a Republican-led effort to give the state new powers over struggling schools.

“From what I observed from Savannah, activists in Atlanta peacefully protested this morning on the critical issue of preserving public education for every family in our state,” she said. “The mantra of ‘trust black women’ is an historic endorsement of the value of bringing marginalized voices to the forefront, not a rebuke to my opponent’s race.”

Georgia Republicans spent Saturday coming together in Rome.

Georgia GOP Chairman John Watson called [Rome City Council candidate Randy] Quick up to the front of a crowd of over 350 at the Tillman Hangar and said even though the commission seats are nonpartisan his presence at the rally meant something. Quick, the general manager of Rome Radio Partners LLC, with a 42-year career in radio, will aim to grab one of the three Ward 2 commission spots up for grabs in November’s municipal election. He would be up against incumbents Jamie Doss, Sue Lee and Wendy Davis — who have said they intend to seek re-election — and Monica Sheppard, a freelance graphic designer and beekeeper, is campaigning as well.

The four announced GOP gubernatorial candidates — Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and State Sens. Hunter Hill, of Atlanta, and Michael Williams, of Cumming — attended the rally put on by the Floyd County Republican Party. Of the four, Cagle spoke first, following up an address from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, of Ranger.

Continue Reading..

11
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 11, 2017

Broderick

Broderick is a male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Broderick is a people loving, fun loving, active dog! Might make a great jogging companion! House trained!

Finley

Finley is a young male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

This good looking hunk of a dog LOVES his paddle pool! He is fostered in a family with other dogs of varying sizes and a 3 yr old child – does very well with all of them!

RomeoJesup

Romeo is a young male Border Collie and Hound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Romeo is one good looking, very unique dog! His blue/amber eyes are always smiling as he is a very happy boy! He is about 1 year old and weighs just over 50 pounds. Romeo enjoys playing ball, is great with children, and does well with other dogs. He even knows some commands!

11
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 11, 2017

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1904.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968.

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Composite Medical Board voted yesterday to require doctors to take 3 Continuing Education credits on proper administration of opioids.

Starting next year every medical doctor in Georgia will be required to undergo opioid training.

Dan DeLoach, Chairman of the Georgia Medical Board, says, “Georgia is experiencing an opioid epidemic.”

He says the new training requirement was needed. “We’re seeing the number of people addicted to opioids increase on an annual basis. We’re seeing the number of people dying from an opioid overdose increase on an annual basis.”

The new training required for Georgia doctors will cover instruction on the guidelines for properly prescribing the powerful painkiller, as well as recognizing signs of abuse.

From Carrie Teegardin at the AJC:

DeLoach said the board hopes that doctors may cut back opioid prescribing as a result of the training, something he said many Georgia doctors have already done as the problems associated with the medications have become widespread.

“I’ve decreased the number of opioids that I write probably by 70 or 80 percent,” DeLoach said. “There are other agents that are available. You can also better tailor the number of tablets that you are prescribing so that there are not a lot of medication that is left over that could fall into the wrong hands.”

The Medical Association of Georgia, the state’s lobby arm for physicians, opposed the requirement. The group said it is concerned that mandating continuing education on a single issue could lead to requirements for specific training on other issues as well. MAG said it supported voluntary training on opioids.

Georgia elected officials lauded President Trump’s declaration that the opioid crisis constitutes an emergency.

Advocated by a White House commission on opioids, the emergency declaration is expected to send more federal dollars to states to address the crisis, including improving access to medications that reverse overdoses.

“This is something that (Trump) can be applauded for,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis, who has seen the effects of the opioid crisis firsthand.

In his middle Georgia community, five people died and more than two dozen others overdosed on opioids within a matter of days earlier this summer.

“Those of us in law enforcement and public health have realized that this is on the way to becoming a national crisis,” Davis said.

Each county has different needs, but each county is still facing an epidemic where people die,” said Renee Unterman, a Republican state senator from Buford who has sponsored legislation combating the opioid crisis.

Unterman said her office received many calls in the last few days from residents disappointed that Trump hadn’t yet declared a national emergency. Thursday’s announcement, during which Trump said he is drafting paperwork to formally declare a national emergency, is “really exciting,” Unterman said.

More than 170 people in Georgia have died of an opioid overdose so far this year, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In 2016, more than 534 died from opioids.

State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) wants to consider expanding the rural hospital tax credit program to include small rural for-profit hospitals in addition to non-profits.

There are nine for-profit hospitals in Georgia that are in counties with less than 50,000 people, which is the population cutoff for the program. One of them, Chestatee Regional Hospital, is in Gooch’s district.

That hospital, he said, has struggled just as much as the state’s nonprofit facilities.

“I just feel like if we’re going to really do something for rural health care, we really can’t let the IRS designation stand in the way,” Gooch said at a recent meeting of the Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee.

“If we’re going to try to help communities in rural Georgia, we’ve got to figure out a way around that for-profit versus not-for-profit status,” he added.

The state Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee discussed expanding Universal Service Fund fees in order to pay for expansion of broadband access.

Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, who is chairing the Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee, which met Tuesday in Dahlonega, said the additional revenue is needed to quickly spur results in areas of the state that are being left behind.

Lucas said he has no reservations about asking city dwellers to help pay for services they will not use because of the advantages they enjoy in an urban area.

“The state has to make a commitment,” Lucas said. “There is no way to get around it.”

Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, who sits on the committee, has already proposed legislation that would expand the fee to all phone lines, including cellphones, and allow the proceeds to be used on broadband.

Under Gooch’s proposal, expanding the program would mean a significant influx of cash for rural broadband. Gooch said he expects a more broadly applied fee to bring in about $200 million annually, which he said could be divvied up among service providers through a grant program.

“I personally believe that the consumer will justify that dollar a month if they know the money’s being spent to upgrade their level of service,” Gooch said.

Gooch said he doesn’t consider it to be a new fee, since some people are already paying it. For example, he said he’s paying it now even though his local provider, Windstream, is not eligible to receive the funds.

Everyone should have to pay it, he said, including Atlanta residents who often enjoy much faster speeds and more reliable connections at more affordable rates.

“Not everybody can move to Atlanta,” Gooch said.

Major General John Morrison, Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, says the TechNet trade show will expand as Augusta becomes the center of Army cyber security.

“These kinds of forums are absolutely critical,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., Fort Gordon’s commanding general. “It brings together industry with military in an open forum where we can collaborate and share ideas, because we all have the same problem when it comes to cybersecurity. And the reality of it is, we want to leverage industry innovation to increase our capabilities. And we want to learn from each other.”

Morrison said he is seeing and feeling how the Augusta area is becoming the bustling center of Army cyber operations.

“In just three short years, Army Cyber Command will be down here in total,” he said. “They’re already here with a forward presence, and it is just an exciting time. And it’s going to mean a lot not only to Fort Gordon, but it’s going to mean a lot to the entire community.”

Morrison said the trade show attracted about 20 percent more attendees and about 15 percent more exhibitors than last year’s event, and he sees that trend continuing.

“For all those in the local Augusta area, you can start seeing that it really is becoming the center of the universe for Army cyber,” Morrison said.

Savannah will issue $8.6 million in bonds to fund street improvements.

The Judicial Council of Georgia voted to recommend adding a new judge to the Cobb County Superior Court.

The council is the state judiciary’s chief policy-making body and is made up of 27 members who represent various levels of courts in Georgia, including its chair, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harris Hines.

“Every year, every circuit has to submit their caseload numbers to the Administrative Office of Courts and the state Judicial Council as to what their caseload (and) case count is,” explained Cobb Superior Court Administrator Tom Charron. “This year, our numbers suggested that our judges had one of the highest caseload per judge throughout the state. And so we submitted our statistics along with a request that we be considered for an additional Superior Court judgeship.”

In addition to presenting the Judicial Council with caseload data, officials also provided letters of support from Cobb Commission Chair Mike Boyce, Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds and former Gov. Roy Barnes, who practices law out of his Marietta office.

Warren, who supervises the Cobb jail, wrote in his letter that a new judge would help control the population at the jail, which houses those accused of crimes before and during their trials.

“Considering our growing population, the number of cases being handled each year and the population of our detention facility, this expansion is clearly needed,” Warren wrote. “Having an additional judge will enable cases to be heard sooner and provide relief to our courts as well as law enforcement when addressing the responsibilities of housing pre-trial inmates.”

Georgia Power appeared before the Georgia Public Service Commission to discuss the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

A lawyer for Georgia Power on Thursday said that if the company recommends completing the project, and the Public Service Commission agrees, the utility will also need a definite decision from the PSC approving additional delays and costs.

He said state law dictates that the PSC must make a decision or Georgia Power’s recommendation will take effect 180 days after being filed.

But some PSC staff members told the five-member commission that Georgia Power has agreed to delay Vogtle-related cost decisions in the past, and that the commission has to tread carefully.

PSC attorney Jeffrey Stair said PSC approval of higher costs could short-circuit a settlement between the commission and Georgia Power late last year on the plant.

The settlement cuts Georgia Power’s profit margin on the project if it isn’t finished by the end of 2020. It also puts the burden on Georgia Power to prove that additional cost overruns are reasonable and deserve eventual reimbursement through customers’ monthly bills.

“Once you approve a higher cost … you have forever foreclosed” arguing that the higher costs are unreasonable, said Stair.

Oglethorpe Power, a co-owner of the nuclear project, suggests a financial wrinkle may be upcoming.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Oglethorpe Power Corporation said it has doubts “about Toshiba’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Toshiba is supposed to make its first payment to Oglethorpe and the other owners of Plant Vogtle in October. Without the payment, Georgia regulator Stan Wise said the project might not be completed.

“If Toshiba’s not going to make that payment, then clearly that affects everyone’s decision adversely,” said Wise, the chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “That’s a milestone that we can’t go forward without.”

Toshiba released its earnings results on Thursday, with a loss of more than $8 billion.

10
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 10, 2017

Pete

Pete is a young male American Staffordshire Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Pete is a loving little guy. He was rescued from animal control with his mom and 3 brothers. He is currently working on his wrestling skills and house manners. He will make an adorable addition to a family!

Alassandra

Alassandra is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Alassandra is a sweet puppy who would love a family to call her own!

Lumiere

Lumiere is a young male Australian Cattle Dog and American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

10
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 10, 2017

On August 10, 1774, a group calling itself the “Sons of Liberty” met at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah, the first move in Georgia toward what would become the Revolutionary War. The Sons of Liberty adopted eight resolutions, among those one that reads,

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we apprehend the Parliament of Great Britain hath not, nor ever had, any right to tax his Majesty’s American subjects; for it is evident beyond contradiction, the constitution admits of no taxation without representation; that they are coeval and inseparable; and every demand for the support of government should be by requisition made to the several houses of representatives.

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we concur with our sister colonies in every constitutional measure to obtain redress of American grievances, and will by every lawful means in our power, maintain those inestimable blessings for which we are indebted to God and the Constitution of our country–a Constitution founded upon reason and justice, and the indelible rights of mankind.

The first copy in Georgia of the Declaration of Independence was read publicly in Savannah on August 10, 1776.

On August 10, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

Missouri was admitted as the 24th State, and the first entirely west of the Mississippi River, on August 10, 1821.

On August 10, 1864, the bombardment of Atlanta by Union force continued, with Sherman writing, ““Let us destroy Atlanta and make it a desolation.”

Sherman-and-Cannon Atlanta

The first Georgia state Motor Fuel Tax was enacted on August 10, 1921, when Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation imposing a one-cent per gallon tax.

Japan accepted unconditional surrender on August 10, 1945, one day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Red Dawn, the first movie rated PG-13 was released on August 10, 1984.

Wolverines!

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The State of Georgia’s lawsuit against Florida over water flow in the Chattahoochee River gained stream as several county governments filed an amicus brief.

A deluge of counties and cities on Monday joined in the war for water among Georgia and Florida that centers on Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River basin.

Gainesville joined with the Atlanta Regional Commission, Forsyth, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton counties and the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority in filing an amicus brief on Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court. It argues that Florida had not proved that tighter water-use restrictions on Georgians would benefit Florida residents.

Florida is aiming for a cap on water consumption in Georgia, arguing that the resource is overused in the Peach State on its way to Florida and that the state’s environment and oyster industry in the Gulf of Mexico are being damaged.

The brief filed on Monday by Gainesville and other municipalities and organizations in Georgia supports Lancaster’s decision.

“Florida challenged two basic water uses in this case: municipal and industrial water use in Metropolitan Atlanta and agricultural water use in Southwest Georgia,” the brief states. “In neither region would the damage inflicted on Georgia be remotely justified by the benefits of a consumption cap.”

It’s estimated such a consumption cap would cost Georgia’s economy billions of dollars.

Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard was elected Chief Judge of the Western Judicial Circuit, which comprises Oconee and Clarke Counties.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) held a Town Hall in Gainesville that was disrupted by angry Democrats.

Right out of the gate, Democratic protesters jeered and debated Collins on congressional Republicans’ failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump was none too popular with the group, either.

The Public Safety Center on Queen City Parkway, where the town hall was held, was overflowing and late attendees were turned away at the door.

The climax of the protests came close to the end of the town hall, which lasted about 80 minutes. Protester Marisa Pyle, who at various points argued health care points with Collins, stood and unfurled a sign proclaiming “Collins voted to kill me.” The sign was seized by local law enforcement and Pyle was escorted out of the courtroom.

At this point, the rest of the protest group walked out of the town hall in solidarity with Pyle, who was present at the May protest in Gainesville. She has met with Collins and his staff to talk about health care in the past.

Collins left on a positive note.

“I’m just glad that they were here, and I’m glad that you were here,” he said, noting to loud applause that America’s best days are ahead of it and that disagreements along the way will happen. “But I do not believe evil on anyone who was here who disagrees with me and I would pray they would not believe evil on me because I disagree with them.”

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) continues his tour of Town Hall meetings.

Some residents of Georgia’s First Congressional District were surprised to find out late Monday that their tickets to town halls with U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, this week had been canceled.

Carter, a second-term Republican, scheduled nine town halls throughout the First District this week. By the time online registration ended Monday, four of the town halls – Savannah, Richmond Hill, Rincon and Darien – were listed on Carter’s site as “sold out.” In a statement sent Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Carter said that “less than 1 percent” of tickets for at-capacity venues were canceled for people who requested tickets to multiple town halls.

“The only instance where this happened was if a constituent was still guaranteed an opportunity to attend another meeting they requested,” Mary Frances Carpenter, Carter’s deputy chief of staff, said in an email.

In her statement, Carpenter said the decision to switch to ticket-based registration was made to “ensure that constituents in the First District are able to attend town hall meetings in an orderly and efficient fashion.” Carter exited his last town hall meeting in Savannah through a back door, avoiding a lobby full of chanting protesters.

Senator Johnny Isakson (R) will hold a Town Hall meeting at Kennesaw State University on Monday, August 14, 2017.

The doors for the town hall open at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center located on Prillaman Way. Space is limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Isakson has held three telephone town hall events in 2017, two in March and one in July, according to Marie Gordon, spokesperson for Isakson.

Liberal agitators are expected to make an appearance at Isakson’s event.

A local chapter of the progressive group Indivisible indicated it’s planning to make its presence known when the Republican takes the stage at Kennesaw State University on Monday evening.

“THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN TRAINING FOR!!!” read the description of the Facebook event inviting members of Indivisible Sea Change, the 6th Congressional District chapter of the Trump resistance group, to the town hall.

Georgia is the second-most strict state in punishing DUI convitction, according to WalletHub.

Columbus City Council adopted a resolution urging the Muscogee County Board of Tax Assessors to refrain from changing assessments from last year’s values.

The impetus for this resolution, of course, is an unprecedented spate of tax increases, some of them as high as tenfold, that recently hit local property owners. The resolution presented by Councilor Glenn Davis rightly notes that some of these increases “are a burden on the citizens … and are, in many cases, far in excess of that which is appropriate.”

With a Monday deadline for filing appeals, a Sept. 1 deadline for the Muscogee Tax Commissioner to submit the tax digest to the state and a Dec. 1 deadline for people with unresolved appeals to pay either their 2016 taxes or 85 percent of this year’s while they wait for a decision, this process is nothing short of frantic.

After state Rep. Richard Smith, R-Columbus, confirmed with the Georgia Department of Revenue that the Board of Tax Assessors is indeed empowered to roll back the assessments to 2016 levels, it became likely that the city governing body would propose a “freeze” of another kind, in this case a short-term rather than a permanent one.

Augusta Commissioners will not have offices in the Augusta Municipal Building.

2018 Elections

Former President Jimmy Carter says “hopefully,” Stacey Abrams will win the 2018 elelction for Governor.

The Georgia Democrat was introducing former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams at a July 25 fundraising dinner in Americus for the Boys and Girls Club when he went off script.

“I shouldn’t say it, but she’s going to be – possibly, and hopefully for me – our next governor of Georgia,” he said to applause. The Plains native goes on to call her a “remarkable” politician who “knows how to reach out to both sides.”

Clay Tippins, nephew of State Senator Lindsey Tippins and a former Navy SEAL, is considering a bid for Governor, according to the AJC Political Insider.

He joined the elite Navy SEALs shortly after graduating and later moved to Silicon Valley to work for several startups. In the mid-2000s, he re-enlisted in the Navy Reserves and was recently dispatched to Iraq for a counter-terrorism tour of duty.

He’s now an executive vice president of Capgemini, the global consulting firm, and lives with his wife and two kids in Atlanta.

Should he run, Tippins would face significant hurdles. He would have to build non-existent name recognition up quickly in a field that includes Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams.

But there are also decided advantages to coming to the race as a blank slate – namely, he has no voting record, little history of public statements to scour. He could fill a lane as an outsider in a Republican race replete with candidates trying to position themselves the same way despite elected experience.

Democrat Lindy Miller will take on John Noel in the 2018 Democratic Primary for Public Service Commission.

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/opinion/article166341802.html#storylink=cpy
9
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 9, 2017

The following puppies are part of a litter of eight who were unexpected. This is a fun crew of puppies, full of kisses and tail wags!

Dixie

Dixie is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Decatur, GA.

Dunkin

Dunkin is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Decatur, GA.

Dex

Dex is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Decatur, GA.

9
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 9, 2017

Herman E. Talmadge was born on August 9, 1913, son of Eugene Talmadge, who later served as Governor. Herman Talmadge himself served as Governor and United States Senator from Georgia.

On August 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced his nomination of Dr. Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education, succeeding William Bennett. Cavazos was the first Hispanic to serve in a Presidential Cabinet position. Interestingly, he was born on the King Ranch.

On August 9, 1990, voters in the City of Athens and Clarke County chose to unify the two governments into Athens-Clarke County government.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Georgia State Senator Tim Golden will join Valdosta State University Professor Dixie Haggard to teach a course on recent Georgia political history.

The class, Political History of Modern Georgia, covers what’s happened in the state since 1980, and that’s where Tim Golden has the experience.

Golden is now a state board member for the Georgia Department of Transportation but he has decades of experience in politics, including eight years in the Statehouse and 16 years in the state Senate.

Him being in the classroom (means) you’re going to get an experience I can’t give you any other way. I can show videos, I can show recordings, (but) he was there,” Haggard said of Golden, who graduated from Valdosta State with a history and political science degree in 1977.

“A student (who) takes this class is going to have the opportunity to really see how history is done.”

To give some context to Georgia’s modern political scene, Haggard and Golden will reach back to post-World War II times and sometimes even as far back as the Civil War, specifically when it comes to the fight over the state flag.

“How do you explain the flag and the lottery and all the things we did from the ’80s on if you don’t go back and learn?” Golden said.

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) addressed students at the Georgia Gwinnett College summer graduation.

In the theme of the day that was noted by GGC President Stas Preczewski, Durham and Shafer, the politician said that many of the graduates completed their coursework while carrying “significant family responsibilities” such as caring or providing for a relative, and working 20 hours a week.

“Your days of being nurtured were over,” Shafer said. “… You have been paying taxes and discharging adult responsibilities for years. … What made you stronger here at Georgia Gwinnett College was not the nurture, but the struggle. The challenge of completing your academic studies while leading a real adult life.”

Shafer, a veteran of Georgia politics, encouraged the graduates to treat everyone they meet like a friend, or a future friend, because in politics, for example, he said your enemy one day could be your friend the next.

The value of the institution, Shafer said, is in the improvement it made to each graduate. The liberal arts education teaches students how to think, how to learn and how to collaborate with others.

Lieutenant General Paul M. Nakasone, commander of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, spoke of Augusta’s role in cyber security.

Nakasone was in Augusta last November to help break ground at Fort Gordon for the new U.S. Cyber Command headquarters, which is now at Fort Belvoir, Va. It will relocate to Fort Gordon by 2020.

Before that, Nakasone last was in Augusta in 2004.

“Thirteen years ago when I left, it was interesting to see that everyone was talking about Boston or Austin as critical components to the high-tech revolution,” he said. “And so my thoughts this morning were, ‘What happens 13 years from now? Is Augusta going to be in that same league?’ I certainly think it will be because we have the opportunity, we have the momentum, we have the capabilities and we have the talent as convergent in the next couple years here in Augusta.”

“I would offer that Army Cyber’s move to Fort Gordon will increase Army readiness and technological superiority not only today, but well into the future,” he said. “The synergy created when we enhance operational effectiveness by establishing a single center here at Fort Gordon can’t be underestimated.”

The general said the headquarters’ move would bring Army Cyber into a “regional hub of innovation in cyber development,” alongside private-industry and academic partners.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) held the first of nine Town Hall meetings he’s hosting during the August congressional break.

Tuesday morning in Jesup he held the first of nine town halls.

“Washington sometimes is described as a bubble and it is,” said Rep. Carter. “You get up there and you don’t see outside that bubble. That’s why it’s very important for us to stay grounded and come here and to interact with the people, this is my home, this where i was born and raised and i need to hear from them.”

And those in attendance are grateful for the opportunity to have their voice be heard.

“I think it’s a wise move,” said Gabe Madray, Jesup Resident. “It’s very positive to have the local availability option to be able to talk directly with your federal congressman.”

“My voting card has my picture on it,” explained Rep. Carter. “But it’s really for the First Congressional District of Georgia, that’s who it represents and I need to hear from them and I want to hear from them. I appreciate everyone coming out and giving me the opportunity to hear from them.”

Congressman Carter will hold five more town halls in our area over the next two days.

One will be in McIntosh County Wednesday at Darien City Hall from 10-11 AM.

On Thursday August 10, it’ll be held in Effingham County at the Rincon First Baptist Church from 10-11 AM.

From there, it’s onto Bryan County and the Bryan County Administrative Complex in Richmond Hill from 2-3 PM.

And it all wraps up in Savannah at Bible Baptist Church from 6-7 PM.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods helped deliver backpacks to students at Jenkins-White Elementary in Augusta.

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods and Deputy Superintendent for School and District Effectiveness Stephanie Johnson visited the school, delivering 30 backpacks filled with school supplies. Faith Outreach Ministries supplied an additional 100 backpacks.

“It’s one less thing they have to think and worry about,” Woods said about the school supplies. “Providing these supplies gives them the assurance that they have all the school supplies they need to come into a classroom, sit down with a teacher and focus purely on the academics.”

The donations were made possible through the Georgia Foundation for Public Education. Monetary donations were made on the foundation’s website, while some people chose to donate backpacks and supplies.

“We do struggle with poverty throughout [the state],” Woods said. “One thing I have found out is that Georgia is a very generous state and when there is a need…they have risen to the occassion.”

Woods and his team made previous stops in Tifton and East Sylvania to deliver backpacks and will conclude the tour in Columbus on Thursday.

Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins ran over her department’s budget by about $400,000, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Tompkins said most of the money was spent on bailiffs and reserve deputies used for security at the City Services Center, Government Center and local courts. She said the expense was budgeted at $311,000, when historically it has cost about $700,000.

Two of the cost-savings initiatives that she planned for the year just went into affect, she explained, and it’s too early to see results.

“First off, I’d like to say, this is not really shocking to us,” she said. “When I took over, we estimated that this particular budget would probably be around $400,000 over, and there really wasn’t a lot that we could do about that.”

In the end, councilors approved the additional funding with a unanimous vote. They also approved more funding for Probate Court Judge Marc D’Antonio, who exceeded his fiscal year 2017 budget by $3,800.

Tompkins replaced John Darr as sheriff in January, after defeating him in a 2016 run-off election. Before leaving office, Darr sued the city over budgeting issues, arguing that the budget set by elected officials had hindered his ability to fulfill his constitutional duties. Tompkins dismissed the lawsuit after being elected to office.

Morris Communications announced the sale of the Savannah Morning News, ten other daily newspapers, and associated assets to GateHouse Media.

“With the announcement of a transition in ownership of the Savannah Morning News from the Morris family to Gatehouse Media, our mission to provide credible, accurate and timely local information remains the same,” said Michael Traynor, publisher of the Savannah Morning News. “In the more than 57 years since the Morris family purchased the Savannah newspaper, we have evolved into a diversified, multi-platform media company that includes print, digital, events and ticketing solutions. We are excited about the next chapter in our future with GateHouse Media and look forward to the many available opportunities to serve our readers and advertisers in new and compelling ways.”

“Since my father took a job as bookkeeper at The Chronicle in 1929, our family has been dedicated to journalism, and to the readers and advertisers in the communities we serve,” said William S. “Billy” Morris III, chairman of Morris Communications. “Although this has been a difficult decision for me, we have found a wonderful buyer for the newspapers in GateHouse, as they are strongly committed to providing good community coverage for readers and effective solutions for advertisers.”

Under terms of the sale, Michael Traynor will remain as publisher of the Savannah Morning News. Billy Morris will continue as publisher of The Augusta Chronicle and will oversee editorial-page policy for the three Morris newspapers in Georgia – The Chronicle, the Savannah Morning News and the Athens Banner-Herald. The Morris family will retain ownership of the Savannah Morning News building and property on Chatham Parkway where the Savannah Morning News will remain in what is now a multi-tenant facility.

GateHouse Media is a division of New Media Investment Group, a publicly traded company (NEWM) on the New York Stock Exchange. It is one of the largest newspaper companies in the country, owning more than 130 daily newspapers and more than 500 non-daily publications across the United States.

Daily papers included in the sale, in addition to the Savannah Morning News, are The Augusta Chronicle, the Athens Banner-Herald, The Florida Times-Union and The St. Augustine Record in Florida, the Amarillo Globe-News and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in Texas, The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, Conway (Ark.) Log Cabin Democrat, and the Juneau Empire and Kenai Peninsula Clarion in Alaska.

Non-daily publications included in the sale under the Savannah Morning News portfolio include Bluffton (S.C.) Today, the Jasper County (S.C.) Sun Times, La Voz Latina, the Tell-N-Sell Shopper, BiS (Business in Savannah), Effingham (Ga.) Now, Bryan County (Ga.) Now and Beaufort (S.C.) Today.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree asked Augusta Commissioners for pay raises for his department.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree is pushing for across-the-board pay increases for his department that would likely require a tax hike next year, city officials said Tuesday.

Roundtree pitched his budget request at an Augusta Commission meeting as city officials begin the 2018 budgeting process. He told commissioners the need is greater in the Sheriff’s Office than other city departments because starting salaries for his deputies are among the region’s lowest while call volume is highest.

“How many other agencies have one of these hanging in their lobby,” or have to plan and train for funerals, Roundtree said, pointing commissioners to memorial images of officers killed in the line of duty. “How many agencies in this government garner this type of community support?”

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle mentioned that city officials are completing a comprehensive study of all city salaries, which would require funds to implement, but said he is “not opposed” to the sheriff’s request. Guilfoyle asked City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson for a source of funds.

“I’m not sure how you do it without a tax increase,” Jackson said.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy asked Roundtree if the Sheriff’s Ooffice would grow community support for a tax increase. Roundtree said he was “more than happy to openly ask the public for their support.”

Augusta millage rates are subject to a decades-old cap that has only about three-quarters of a mill, currently about $5 million, before it reaches the cap, officials said.

Friction with elected officials led Wayne Stradley to resign from the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizens Advisory Committee.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller told Stradley before the meeting he believed Stradley had overstepped his bounds to the extent that he should resign from the Citizens Advisory Committee, and if he didn’t, Miller would ask Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell to replace him.

Stradley is Powell’s appointee on the committee, which works to give citizen input to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the local area’s lead transportation planning agency.

[I]n emails, Stradley said there’s an issue of autonomy.

“Either the CAC is a ‘citizen’ committee, representing the citizens, or not,” he said.

“I think the CAC should be autonomous and able to form subcommittees as long as they know the purpose, the members and (have) a deadline.”

Lawrenceville City Council voted to adopt a $182 million dollar budget for FY 2018.

The Port of Savannah‘s record cargo hauls are driving warehouse space shortages.

While not in agreement on the exact numbers, both Colliers International and Cushman &Wakefield – two major global commercial real estate companies — concur that the Savannah area industrial vacancy rate is too low for comfort.

Both companies released their mid-2017 industrial market reports last week, with indications that the demand for space around the ports is not slowing. If anything, it’s putting increased pressure on the market.

According to Colliers, total industrial inventory for the Savannah market at the end of June was 50.9 million square feet, with 5.2 million square feet under construction and only 999,000 square feet vacant.

“The industrial vacancy rate dropped to 1.96 percent in the last quarter, reminiscent of the all-time low of 1.93 percent recent this time last year,” said David Sink, a principal in Colliers’ Savannah office.

Campaigns and Elections

Former Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck announced he will run for Insurance Commissioner next year.

Jim Beck, successful businessman, entrepreneur, and a former Deputy Commissioner, announced his candidacy for Georgia’s Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.

Georgia families deserve bold, experienced, and innovative leadership in the Insurance Commissioner’s office. Jim Beck’s incredible insight into the workings of the insurance business, gained through over 30 years of experience on the front lines, guides his vision for comprehensive change in the insurance department. As Commissioner, Jim Beck’s single focus will be advocating for and protecting Georgians. In making the announcement Beck said, “Dramatic insurance rate increases have left many Georgia families struggling to pay premiums for even the most basic protection. Simply put, the family budget has taken an unprecedented beating. While the job of Insurance Commissioner is very technical in nature and generally there is a long learning curve, I can say with absolute confidence that I will be a “Day One” Commissioner. I know how to effectively serve as the consumer’s champion, while capitalizing on untapped opportunities to improve the insurance marketplace and hold companies more accountable. I will fight for your right to be treated fairly and I would be honored to earn your vote and support to be the next Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner for our great State. “

Lawrenceville City Council member Rey Martinez will resign to run for Mayor in an open seat election this November.

Martinez’s council seat, like the mayor’s seat, was already scheduled to be on the ballot in November — since his term ends in December —before he announced his plans to run for mayor .

Martinez is in his second term on the City Council, serving on the city’s public safety, planning and development and transportation committees. He is also a retired Navy veteran, having spent 25 years in the military, including three deployments during Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom.

He has served on the City Council since 2010 and is also a member of American Legion Post 233, the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity and president of the Loganville Lyon’s Club.

He was also the chairman of Georgia Hispanics for Trump during last year’s presidential election.

Former State Senator Dan Moody has endorsed Matt Reeves for the Senate District 48 seat being vacated by David Shafer, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.

Joe Musselwhite will join the growing field of candidates for Mayor of Warner Robins.

Joe Musselwhite, a former Warner Robins public works director, formally announced his candidacy for mayor Tuesday.

Musselwhite, 64, ran for mayor in 2013 in a field of six candidates. He landed in a runoff with Randy Toms, but he lost by nearly a 2-1 margin.

I have a clear vision for our city’s government, and I have many innovative ideas to share as the election process continues,” he said.

He is the first candidate to formally announce that he is opposing Toms, who has said he plans to run for re-election.

Councilman Chuck Shaheen said during a debate Monday on whether to establish a city administrator that he also plans to run for mayor, but he declined to confirm that intention afterward.

8
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 8, 2017

Wyndel

Wyndel is a young male Australian Shepherd & Mixed Breed mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Winnie

Winnie is a young female Australian Shepherd & Mixed Breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

WhitneyMBCAW

Whitney is a young female Australian Shepherd & Mixed Breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Wylder

Wylder is a young male Australian Shepherd & Mixed Breed who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

8
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 8, 2017

The first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Savannah on August 8, 1776 and was read publicly for the first time on August 10, 1776.

On August 8, 1863, General Robert E. Lee offered his resignation in a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

On August 8, 1925, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation outlawing the brazen act of dancing publicly on Sunday.

On August 8, 1929, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman signed legislation placing on the ballot for Fulton and Campbell County voters a merger of the two.

The old Campbell County Courthouse still stands in Fairburn, Georgia.

Campbell County Courthouse Fairburn GA 3

Historic Campbell County Courthouse in Fairburn, GA.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were nominated for President and Vice President by the Republican National Convention on August 8, 1968.

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, effective at noon the next day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Gov. Nathan Deal announced that July tax collections increased more than seven percent.

Gov. Nathan Deal [] announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for July totaled nearly $1.72 billion, for an increase of $113.4 million, or 7.1 percent, compared to last year when net tax collections totaled roughly $1.61 billion. Gross tax revenue receipts for the month totaled $2.27 billion, for an increase of $112.5 million, or 5.2 percent, compared to July 2016.

The changes within the following tax categories contributed to the overall net tax revenue increase in July:

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections for the month totaled $861.5 million, up from nearly $780.7 million in July 2016, for an increase of roughly $80.9 million, or 10.4 percent.

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections deposited during the month increased by $46.7 million, or 5.1 percent, compared to July 2016.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections for July totaled nearly $19.4 million, for an increase of $13 million, or 205.6 percent, compared to last year when net Corporate Tax revenues totaled $6.3 million.

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections for July decreased by nearly $0.1 million, or -0.1 percent, compared to last year when Motor Fuel Tax revenues totaled $146.1 million.

Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees: Tag and Title Fee collections for July increased by $7.4 million, or 28.4 percent, compared to July 2016. Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections for the month totaled $81.5 million, for a decrease of $10 million, or -11 percent, compared to last year.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) will hold a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the Gainesville Public Safety Building, 701 Queen City Parkway in Gainesville.

For security reasons, no bags or signs will be allowed into the courtroom where the town hall is taking place, according to the announcement.

Congressman Buddy Carter has scheduled nine Town Hall meetings in his coastal Georgia district.

The Pooler pharmacist is planning on leading nine events between Tuesday and Thursday in his coastal district, including town halls in Jesup, Brunswick and Savannah.

According to the tracking website Town Hall Project, he’s in rarefied air. Only two other Georgia House members have planned in-person town halls during the August recess: Democratic Rep. David Scott will hold an Aug. 19 event in Jonesboro and Republican Rep. Doug Collins will host a Wednesday evening town hall in Gainesville.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office has also said he plans to hold an in-person town hall meeting, while other lawmakers – including newly-elected Rep. Karen Handel of Roswell – have said they will organize telephone town halls.

Carter was the only of Georgia’s 10 Republican House members and two U.S. senators to hold a town hall meeting in February amid a wave of national protests that have rocked GOP events since Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Former Governor Roy Barnes addressed the Cartersville/Bartow County Chamber of Commerce.

“In my lifetime, we have seen the booming of this entire region,” he said. “Bartow is growing at a much faster rate than Cobb because Cobb is about developed out. Bartow has been growing by 30 to 37 percent every 10 years and will continue to do so. That is true of the entire Atlanta region.“What I want to discuss with you today is actually a question. ‘What do we need to do to continue this growth without destroying this quality of life that we all treasure?’”

He said three requirements are essential to Georgia’s continued growth.

“The first is transportation,” he said. “We must have adequate transportation to make sure this region grows and does not suffocate. When I was governor, I proposed a highway extension running from I-85 across to I-75 on what was called the ‘Northern Arc,’ which then swung further west across I-20 to south of Newnan where it would connect with the Fall Line Freeway, so truckers could entirely bypass Atlanta.”

Barnes said the second requirement is education.

“We have made great strides in education, but we have only scratched the surface,” he said. “Just like we need infrastructure and capital for infrastructure, we also need intellectual capital. There is a gap between the jobs created by industries and the skills of the workers necessary to fill those jobs. We should be panicked about that, but we seem to not be concerned.”

The third requirement, Barnes said, is leadership.

“I am disgusted with leadership to a large extent,” Barnes said. “Local level leadership is far superior to what we see on a state and national level. The local leaders have to actually solve problems —  make sure the garbage gets picked up, that the water is there when you turn on the spigot and you can flush the commode and nothing comes back — but on the state and particularly the national level, and I’m talking about both Democrats and Republicans, the purpose of elected leaders is to actually solve problems and to accomplish that you have to talk to each other.

Blue Cross Blue Shield announced it will not offer insurance plans for metro Atlanta residents on the federal exchange.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia said it will not offer insurance plans on the Obamacare exchange in any of metro Atlanta’s counties next year.

The move comes as the company is still waiting on whether the Trump administration will continue federal cost sharing subsidies that help provide coverage for low-income families.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georiga said in a statement that continued uncertainty on the federal level makes it difficult to offer plans on the marketplace exchange statewide.

The company did agree to offer plans in 85 mostly rural counties that would be left with no insurance plan.

But the company is expanding its offerings in some non-metro areas.

State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office reported that BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia agreed to offer coverage in the state insurance exchange in 2018, but only for 85 counties that would have had no other health coverage companies.

Blue Cross is the sole health plan offering exchange coverage this year in all of Georgia’s 159 counties. If Blue Cross had pulled out, the commissioner’s office said it would have devastated Georgia’s market.

“You would have had thousands of people in that 85 county area that would have either had to change jobs, or go without coverage, or move.  Really that would have been their options if they wanted health insurance,” said Florence.

 

Gainesville Board of Education members heard options for setting the property tax millage rate.

Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Williams began, “what we want to do tonight is bring these three numbers to you; then over the next couple of weeks take this document and go back and look, and if you’ve got requests…communicate that to me and we’ll be sure to get some information for you so at our next meeting we can set a tentative millage rate.”

Williams explained that leaving the current rate of 6.85-mils in place would constitute a tax increase by definition, and would require three public hearings and the prerequisite advertising in the newspaper to announce each of those hearings as set forth under Georgia law.

Only by rolling back the rate to 6.453-mils would a revenue-neutral situation occur and eliminate the need for the public hearings.  That option would, however, create a projected budget shortfall of $2.4-million.

Should board members decide to use a rate higher than 6.453-mils when they reconvene August 21st, dates for the required trio of public hearings will be set at that time.

The Fayette County Board of Education is considering adopting a property tax millage rate lower than the current rate but above the full rollback rate.

The Fayette County Board of Education plans to raise the property tax millage rate 9.16 percent above the rollback rate, which will require three public hearings before the rate is decided on Aug. 21.

The board wants a rate of 19.500 mills, a 0.250 mill decrease from last year. The rollback rate is what would produce the same amount of revenue at the current millage rate if no property reassessments had occurred, but the board’s new budget requires a higher millage than what the rollback rate would have provided. The approximately $10 million budget increase is due mostly to cost-of-living raises, higher retirement plan contributions and health insurance premiums.

Millage hearings will be held at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Aug. 14 and at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 21, all at 210 Stonewall Ave. in Fayetteville.

Suwanee City Council will maintain the property tax millage rate at last year’s level.

Suwanee has proposed a millage rate of 4.93 mills, the same rate used in the proposed FY 2018 budget and the same rate used by the city over the past four years.

Because the proposed rate is anticipated to generate a 4.96 percent increase in property tax revenue, the city will hold three public hearings to discuss the tax increase at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10 and at noon and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at City Hall, 320 Town Center Avenue. The millage rate will be adopted during the city council meeting following the final public hearing Aug. 22.

Property owners will see a slight increase due to rising property values.

Dalton City Council voted to place a $50 million bond issue on the ballot.

The City Council voted 3-1 (Gary Crews voted against) to place a referendum on the Nov. 7 municipal election ballot that asks:

“Shall the City of Dalton, Georgia, issue general obligation bonds in the principal amount of up to $50,650,000 for the purposes of providing funds to (i) acquire land for school purposes, acquire, construct, install and equip a new secondary school building and facilities, acquire new technology, to be used at educational and administrative facilities, including, but not limited to, classroom technology infrastructure, computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices for students and staff, servers, wiring, wireless antennas, displays and other technology upgrades with necessary hardware, software and programs, acquire school equipment, including, but not limited to, safety and security equipment, and acquire any other property, both real and personal, necessary or desirable therefor(e), for Dalton Public Schools; (ii) capitalize interest on the bonds; and (iii) pay all expenses incident to accomplishing the foregoing?”

Jevin Jensen noted the school system could pay as much as 5.5 percent interest on the bonds. Over the 30-year life of the bonds, the principal and interest that would be paid at that rate is $103 million.

“At 3.5 percent, that would be $82 million,” he said.

Members of the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area asked council members to delay voting on the measure. The League plans to try to circulate a petition that would place a referendum on the May 2018 general primary ballot asking Dalton voters to dissolve the school system.

University of Georgia School of Law is creating a Veterans Legal Services Clinic to provide services to military veterans.

As described on the UGA website, the clinic “will provide veterans in Georgia with legal assistance they might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford, with particular regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It also includes an educational scholarship component … [it] will be staffed by law students who will work directly with veterans and their dependents to ensure access to benefits and services, especially for those with mental or physical disabilities resulting from their time in the military.”

This clinic will not only offer legal assistance and advice for veterans; it will also provide $5,000 matching scholarships each year for two veterans studying at the UGA law school.

And the benefit, Butler added, isn’t limited to veterans.

“Another attraction is the opportunity to train law students,” he said. “The University of Georgia law school’s clinical programs are among the best in the country. You take these young law students in their formative years and get them involved in helping people, it affects what they will do as lawyers.”

The Augusta Planning Commission amended its code to allow small brewers and distillers in business areas.

The amendments create new categories of “nano-“ and “pico-“ breweries and distilleries, smaller than traditional microbreweries and distilleries, which will be allowed with a special permit in business zones.

Postponed several times, the amendments appear just in time for state law changes going in effect Sept. 1 that will allow small brewers and distillers to sell packaged beer and liquor over the counter, in limited amounts.

The approval drew contrasting reviews from Augusta’s two existing microbreweries, which were required to open in an industrial zone a few blocks from downtown because the current planning code considers brewing and distilling as an industrial operation, regardless of the amount of beverage being made.

The city’s discussion had touched on creating a “brewery district” around the Fifth Street area where the two breweries are located, planning and development manager Brendon Cunningham said, although Sloan said she wasn’t “all that enthusiastic” about having more brewer neighbors in the area.

The amendments define a nanobrewery as making up to 3,000 barrels of beer per year, the equivalent of 992,000 12-ounce bottles. A picobrewery can make up to 500 barrels, or about 27,556 six-packs.

Neither definition includes a food component. Brewpubs, which are already allowed, can make up to 10,000 barrels per year but must make half their money from food sales.

Warner Robins City Council members argued over whether to hire a city administrator.

A simmering debate about whether to hire a city administrator boiled over at the Warner Robins City Council meeting Monday, including allegations of secret meetings.

The discussion began in pre-council when Councilman Keith Lauritsen suggested that the council state its plans for a city administrator so that those running for mayor will know what the job will entail. Council members Mike Davis and Clifford Holmes disagreed and the discussion soon became heated.

The discussion became especially heated when Mayor Randy Toms said he wanted all future meetings on the subject to be in the open. Shaheen and Holmes both took offense, saying they took that as an accusation.

“There was one meeting that I absolutely believe was illegal,” Toms said.

Holmes said he did go to a meeting and when he got there he saw there were three other council members, and he implied that he did not go in. He also said City Attorney Jim Elliott was there.

[City Council member Chuck] Shaheen has said he would run for mayor if the council approved a city administrator. But he said in the meeting that he is running for mayor “whether it is full or part time.”

Part of Georgia’s seashore may be designated as a place of international importance for shorebirds.

A group of public and private organizations — including two federal agencies but not the state Department of Natural Resources — submitted the nomination to the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network to have Georgia’s barrier islands and marshlands designated a “landscape of hemispheric importance for shorebirds.”

The network is a long-standing conservation strategy for celebrating and protecting shorebirds over a wide geographic range in North and South America. Currently, there are 95 sites in North America meeting its criteria, supporting shorebirds in all three stages of habitat need: nesting, migration and non-nesting. The Altamaha River Delta was dedicated as a Coastal Georgia site of regional importance by the WHSRN (pronounced whiss-ern) Council in 1999.

The network invited the Georgia Shorebird Alliance to apply to broaden the designation and encompass more of the coast. A decision on the application is expected next month.

If approved, the designation would highlight the coast’s importance, a plus for eco-tourism as well as researchers looking for grant funding.

“It really is a way to showcase the Georgia coast,” said Alice Miller Keyes, vice president for conservation at One Hundred Miles, which organized the application process. “It can be a real draw for the growing ecotourism and for Georgia as a birding destination.”

The City of South Fulton is considering designating election day as an official holiday.

A proposal last month offered Election Day as a holiday mandatory for the city and “encouraged” for other Georgia elected bodies and for South Fulton businesses.

Sponsoring it was City Councilman khalid kamau, who said in the proposed resolution that Election Day is already a holiday in Puerto Rico during presidential races, leading to high turnouts at the polls.

kamau also said the holiday can create a culture of voting and political education.

City council arguments against it included misalignment with the Fulton County School System calendar, causing parents among city employees to seek child care or take time off when students are out of school Oct. 9.

Mayor William “Bill” Edwards said there was insufficient information available to make a sound decision.

“I don’t think we went into depth enough,” he said. “We need to have a committee to study this further.”

The Board of Regents will consider a request by Georgia Tech for a campus at Lockheed in Marietta.

The state Board of Regents is scheduled Tuesday to consider a $63 million proposal by Georgia Tech to buy land to expand its research space in Cobb County and give it flexibility for future development.

Tech wants a lease revenue bond package to acquire and renovate 32 acres in Marietta owned by Lockheed Martin, according to the board’s agenda. The buildings that Tech plans to purchase are on the aerospace giant’s south campus along Atlanta Road.

“This ownership structure will allow flexibility for future development, such as opportunities for industry partnerships and investment. Over the long term, development of the entire 52-acre campus is expected to accelerate (Georgia Tech’s) research growth in national security, homeland defense, and commercial advanced technology initiatives,” an explanation on the board’s agenda read.

2017 Elections

Powder Springs will hold qualifying for three city council seats.

Powder Springs will hold a general election Nov. 7 to elect three City Council members from Wards 1, 2 and 3.

Qualifying will be held between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23-25 (closed 1 -2 p.m. for lunch) in the second floor conference room, Powder Springs City Hall, 4484 Marietta St., Powder Springs.

The qualifying fee for each council candidate will be $360 payable by cash, check or money order made out to the City of Powder Springs.

Brookhaven will elect two City Council members in November.

The qualifying fee for Council District 2 (two) and District 4 (four) is $360.00 which is 3% of the total gross salary of the preceding year (Georgia Election Code 21-2-131 (a) (1) (A). Each candidate shall file a notice of candidacy in the office of the City Clerk of Brookhaven and must meet the qualifications of the Charter and Code of the City of Brookhaven, as well as all applicable state and constitutional laws.

The date of the Municipal Election for the Offices of Councilmember of Council Districts 2 (two) and 4 (four) is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. In the event no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, a Run Off Election shall be held Tuesday, December 5, 2017, between the candidates receiving the two highest number of votes. DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections will conduct the November 2017 Election and if any Run-Off Election.

Each candidate shall file a notice of candidacy in the office of the City Clerk of Brookhaven between Wednesday, August 23, 2017 and Friday, August 25, 2017, between the hours of 8:30 am and 12:30 pm, and 1:30 pm and 4:30pm.

Sandy Springs will host two contested city council elections.

Jody Reichel this week formally declared her candidacy for the Sandy Springs City Council District 4 seat held by Gabriel Sterling, who previously said he is running for Fulton County Commission chairman.

Reichel said Sandy Springs has been fortunate to have elected officials and other community leaders “who have worked hard to make our city an extremely desirable place to lay down roots, raise our families and be involved with our community.”

“There are, however, many important issues that need a strong advocate and much work that needs to be done in order for Sandy Springs to reach its potential,” she said, adding that’s the reason why she’s running for the City Council.

If elected, Reichel said she will focus her time and energy on issues such as traffic challenges, smart business growth and working on efforts to make Sandy Springs a more pedestrian friendly community. She also notes she’ll regularly listen to the viewpoints of others to continue the city’s reputation as a great place to live.

Another resident, Steve Soteres, on Thursday also revealed his plans to run for the District 2 seat held by Ken Dishman, who will not be seeking re-election.

Mayor Rusty Paul and Council members Andy Bauman, Chris Burnett, Tibby DeJulio and John Paulson are all seeking re-election.

The city’s general election is slated for Nov. 7, and the office of mayor as well as the six City Council seats are up for grabs. Qualifying for the elections will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21 through Thursday, Aug. 24 and from 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 25. The qualifying fees for mayor is $1,000 and $540 for the city council seats.