The blog.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 30, 2023

Tegan is a young female German Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Toby is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Putter is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Putter has a soft, shiny, short coat with a splash of white on her chest and tummy. She has a lovely personality, so friendly and playful with lots of love to give. She takes new experiences in her stride and potty training is a breeze, she is almost there! Clever? She certainly is! She can sit for her meals and shake a paw already. She will make a great playmate, loves to retrieve a ball or toy and will bring it back in a flash! Putter is up to date with shots and ready to be your best friend. Submit your adoption application today (!


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2023

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

In Gwinnett County, a dispute has arisen over language to describe the county’s history, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Ruth Abram said Gwinnett County Community Services Director Tina Fleming had one request during their one meeting to discuss The Promised Land in south Gwinnett.

Fleming did not want it called a plantation when discussing the part of its history where it had slaves working its land because “people here don’t like the term,” said Abram, who is a historian and a descendant of Promised Land founder Thomas Maguire that the county hired to compile the property’s history.

Instead, according to Abram, Fleming wanted the Promised Land called a “farm” when discussing its pre-Civil War history.

“If Fleming’s view prevailed, the interpretation of the Promised Land would substitute ‘plantation’ for ‘farm.’ ” Abram said. “It follows it would also substitute ‘slave’ or ‘enslaved’ for ‘servant,’ as has been done at many of the plantations turned into historic sites.”

Abram is blasting Fleming in letters to county officials as well as comments she made to the Daily Post. She is not only accusing the community services director of trying to downplay the history of slavery but also alleging Fleming interfered with her efforts to do research on the Promised Land’s history.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Columbus ranks in the top 100 cities for naked gardening, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

According to a recent study by Lawnstarter, Columbus is ranked 92nd best US city for naked gardening.

In fact, Georgia takes the list by storm, as Atlanta is ranked the third best city for the nude activity, Augusta is ranked 73rd, Savannah is 90th and Macon is 66th.

The study first gathered the places where naked gardening is safe and legal, examined nudist population sizes, indecent exposure laws and gardener-friendliness as well as weather and sex offender lists.

These topics were then assigned to one of the four categories: (1) Nude Gardener-Friendliness,(2) Local Interest, (3) Weather Forecast and (4) Safety.

Plan to give it a try? Here are tips for first-time nude gardeners:

1.) Wear sunscreen — everywhere! Remember, some of these body parts have never seen the sun, so they are very vulnerable. This is true for all skin tones and races.

2.) Make sure you aren’t using any chemicals (like weed killer) that might come in contact with your body. If you need gloves to handle your gardening chemicals, it might not be a good time to go nude.

3.) Bring a towel or blanket. Crouching down over your plot of land to dig out beans is fine, but most of us naturally sit down when our legs get tired — it’s an automatic behavior we don’t think about. Think proactively, and put something down on the ground that will be kind to your behind.

No word on whether naked gardening is responsible for Columbus having STD rates among the highest in the nation. FWIW, Atlanta is #3 in the nation.

Tourism was expected to return to pre-Covid levels over Memorial Day weekend, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Macon Telegraph.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport expects to handle about 2.1 million passengers during the Memorial Day holiday period, which began Thursday and extends through next Wednesday. That’s up from roughly 2 million travelers during the same period last year.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines expects to fly nearly 2.8 million passengers over the Memorial Day weekend, a 17% increase over 2022. The anticipated average of 500,000 passengers a day is expected to exceed the pre-pandemic holiday weekend travel volume logged in 2019.

“It’s going to be record travel for leisure this summer,” said Jim Sprouse, executive director of the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association. “Looking back to 2019, we’re flirting with those numbers again and exceeding them in some cases.”

Tourism industry officials credited Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision not to shut down the state during the pandemic for keeping visitation numbers up, particularly among leisure travelers.

“Because Georgia remained open for business during the pandemic, Atlanta had a leg up on the competition when convention business began to return,” said William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB). “The sales team at Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau had a spectacular year in 2022, and lead volume is the highest it has been since the pandemic started.”

The ACVB reported preliminary hotel occupancy numbers for the city of Atlanta last month at 70%, the highest since February 2020, the month before COVID-19 struck Georgia in force. Hotel occupancy ended 2022 at 60%, a 50% increase over the end of the previous year.

One tourism segment that exploded during the pandemic was visitation to state parks. During a period when public health officials advised people not to gather in indoor spaces, visitors to state parks could enjoy camping and social distancing at the same time.

Berrien County will reopen their canning plant, according to WALB.

According to a Facebook post by the plant, the facilities at the plant will be open to the public through the Berrien County school system’s agricultural education department. The facilities will blanche, process, can and peel a variety of vegetables and fruit, according to the post.

The plant asks that people call ahead for an appointment for large quantities.

The plant is open on Monday from 7:30 a.m.-noon, Tuesday 7:30 a.m.-noon and 2-6 p.m. and Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-noon at Berrien High School.

Jesup City Council member Raymond House II died, according to WSAV.

The city says Commissioner Raymond House II was found dead in his home Saturday morning by a close friend.

House was first elected to represent District 5 in Jesup in 1995.

Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions will not run for reelection, according to WSAV.

Sessions has been the Mayor of Tybee Island for four years. One of her achievements includes being the first woman elected to the seat in the town’s history.

Plant Vogtle’s Reactor #3 reached 100 percent generating capacity, according to WTOC.

Georgia Power announced Monday that Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle has reached its full output of 1,100 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses. The power will be sent to Georgia and other states.

Operators are conducting further testing to prove they can run the reactor in ways required for regular operations, Georgia Power CEO Kim Greene in a statement, calling the achievement “an exciting milestone.”

“It tells us we’re close to finishing the unit safely and bringing it online to power Georgia homes and businesses with reliable, emissions-free energy for decades to come,” she said.

The fourth reactor has finished a key testing phase and operators expect to start loading radioactive fuel between July and October, aiming for the reactor to reach commercial operation between December and March 2024.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

This has been a longtime coming as the expansion project to add Units 3 and 4 was first authorized in 2009 and has been hit with multiple delays and cost overruns since. The initial plan was to bring Unit 3 online in 2016 and Unit 4 the year after. Unit 3 began producing electricity in April. U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan said last month that Unit 4 should be online in December. It has cost more than double the projected $14 billion.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said in his Monday news release that the new units are essential to the company’s commitment to delivering energy to its 2.7 million customers. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

Tybee Island is changing their method of marking turtle nests to better protect them, according to WTOC.

They are now just marking the nests with a single wooden stake, rather than multiple stakes and caution tape to make them less noticeable to potential predators.

They’re also adding a metal screen over top of them.

They say this will help better protect the eggs making it harder for them to be dug up by other animals, such as coyote.

Of course, making them less noticeable means they’re asking you to be extra aware of the nests while on the beach.

Columbus City Council may seek the return of land dedicated to railroad operations for more than 176 years, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Columbus city leaders say they’ve made a crucial and historic move toward reclaiming about 80 acres of prime in-town real estate that railroads have been using for around 175 years. But their next step is yet to be determined, they say.

City councilors passed a resolution last week declaring that dating back to 1847, the city allowed railroads to use its public land on the condition the property would revert back to the city when those uses ceased.

The city says it never deeded the railroads the East Commons property roughly bordered by Sixth Avenue and 10th Avenue from Linwood Boulevard to 10th Street, so it retained ownership. Now the conditions under which it gave the railroads use of that area — to build passenger depots or freight warehouses — have ceased and the railroad and parcels should revert to Columbus, the city claims.

Though the resolution claims Columbus owns the land, it does not tell Norfolk Southern to vacate the property, or threaten any legal action.

“I think right now it’s just another step,” said Mayor Skip Henderson. He said it was “a step toward having a dialogue with the railroad,” and not an ultimatum.

Rome City Commissioners will discuss an attempt to settle a lawsuit between the city and Dalton Utilities over water quality, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The most recent settlement offer concerns Dalton Utilities, which “agreed in principle” to settle a lawsuit brought against it by the city of Rome over what have been called “forever chemicals” in the Oostanaula River, the utility board chairman, Joe Yarbrough, said.

“Earlier this week, Dalton Utilities agreed in principle to settle the Rome case,” Yarbrough told the Dalton Daily Citizen on Friday. “The final paperwork and language is being worked on now. I can’t offer any other comments or details until we get that final language completed and the papers executed.”


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 26, 2023

Alex is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Burke County Animal Services Waynesboro GA.

Ruth is a young female mixed breed (Lab mix) puppy who is available for adoption from Burke County Animal Services Waynesboro GA.

Rusty is a young female mixed breed (Shepherd mix) puppy who is available for adoption from Burke County Animal Services Waynesboro GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 26, 2023

Lt. Colonel George Washington fought French and Indian scouts on May 28, 1754, beginning the Seven Years War.

On May 27, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams to let Adams know of the death of a mutual friend.

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

Georgia Militia under General John Floyd began rounding up Cherokee Indians on May 26, 1838.

General Robert E. Lee wrote a letter dated May 26, 1861 to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown asking the state to send any weapons available for Georgia volunteers who arrived in Virginia unarmed.

On May 27, 1863, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal district court judge, issued a decision in Ex parte Merryman, which challenged President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln ignored the ruling.

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in Paulding County, Georgia, where Sherman’s forces attacked Johnston’s Confederates on May 27, 1864. Among the combatants on the Union side was Ambrose Bierce, who would later write The Crime at Pickett’s Mill. Pickett’s Mill is the site of annual reenactments.

On May 27, 1864, the Federal Army, having been stopped in its advance on Atlanta two days earlier by the Battle of New Hope Church, attempted to outflank the Confederate position. Some 14,000 Federal troops were selected for the task, and General Howard was given command. After a five-hour march, Howard’s force reached the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill and prepared to attack. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of General Cleburne.

The Federal assault began at 5 p.m. and continued into the night. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. The Federals had lost 1,600 men compared to the Confederate loss of 500. The Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.

Here are some photos of the battlefield and links to additional material.

The Battle of Dallas, Georgia began on May 28, 1864.

The Battle of New Hope Church was fought near Dallas, Georgia May 25-26, 1864 between Confederates under General Joseph E. Johnston and Federal troops under General William T. Sherman.

President Calvin Coolidge signed the “Comprehensive Immigration Act” on May 26, 1924.

Many Americans saw the enormous influx of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants during the early 1900s as causing unfair competition for jobs and land. Under the new law, immigration remained open to those with a college education and/or special skills, but entry was denied to Mexicans, and disproportionately to Eastern and Southern Europeans and Japanese. At the same time, the legislation allowed for more immigration from Northern European nations such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. A quota was set that limited immigration to two percent of any given nation’s residents already in the U.S. as of 1890, a provision designed to maintain America’s largely Northern European racial composition. In 1927, the “two percent rule” was eliminated and a cap of 150,000 total immigrants annually was established.

The law particularly angered Japan, which in 1907 had forged with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt a “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” which included more liberal immigration quotas for Japan. By 1924, strong U.S. agricultural and labor interests–particularly from California, which had already passed its own exclusionary laws against Japanese immigrants–favored the more restrictive legislation signed by Coolidge. The Japanese government viewed the American law as an insult, and protested by declaring May 26 a national day of humiliation in Japan.

Fort Frederica National Monument was established on St Simons Island, Georgia on May 26, 1936.

Fort Frederica National National Monument on St. Simons Island Fort Frederica National National Monument on St. Simons Island

On May 27, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the United States was in an unlimited national emergency and laid out conditions under which Germany’s expansionism would constitute an attack on the United States.

Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, born in Atlanta on May 28, 1944.

May 26, 1949 was named Clay Day in Marietta, Georgia in honor of General Lucius Clay, who spoke at the courthouse square.

On May 27, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter blasted the “Stop Carter” movement in a speech in Cincinnati.

On this day in 1992, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion by Georgia-based The Black Crowes reached number one on the Billboard US Album chart.

On May 27, 1995, actor Christopher Reeves was thrown from his horse in an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia, becoming quadriplegic.

Eight years ago, a poll by Rasmussen showed Democrat Michelle Nunn beating both Jack Kingston and David Perdue in a General Election matchup and Democrat Jason Carter beating Gov. Deal.

A new historical marker in Savanah commemorates Mamie George Williams, according to WTOC.

A politician, volunteer and a suffragist, Williams registered 40,000 African American women to vote in 1920 following the passage of the 19th Amendment.

“I want them to know that she was tops in politics, spoke up for African American people, that she was the vice president of a bank and that she cared about youth,” said historian Velma Maia Thomas Fann.

Not only was Williams a member of several organizations and President of the Chatham County Colored Citizen Council, she also was the first African American woman to serve on the National Republican Committee, supporting the party that freed the enslaved.

“It’s her spirit that we want to continue to have among us, that will encourage us, that will inspire us, that will motivate us. If Mamie did it during the times when she was alive with all of the obstacles and the roadblocks and everything that was in her path, what does that say to us today?” said Shirley James, a publisher at the Savannah Tribune.

The answer to that question. “Don’t get weary till your work is done.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Thirty-seven judicial circuits in Georgia will receive grants to work on reducing the COVID backlog of cases, according to The Brunswick News.

The Brunswick Judicial Circuit is among 37 in Georgia to be awarded a grant to help with the backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of more than $2.1 million will be awarded to the judicial circuit in the first and second cycles of the American Rescue Act Plan for the 2023 calendar year.

The awards include funding for temporary personnel to respond to the case backlog, such as senior judges, judges to serve by designation, court clerks, prosecutors, security personnel, investigators, victim support staff and court reporters.

Georgia Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs, chair of the Judicial Council and the ARPA Committee, said delays during the first year have subsided, though hiring challenges continue in various judicial circuits across the state. He is overseeing the application process for the grants, and the Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts is facilitating the grant application, award, compliance, and reporting processes.

The funds are awarded on a calendar year basis and all funds allocated to the judicial branch must be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.

“Despite the challenges, I’m very proud of the work our judges and court personnel are making throughout the state in successfully implementing their grant-funded case backlog plans,” Boggs said. “We look forward to the support and efficiencies the audio-visual equipment modernization will provide to move cases faster and without technical delays and I am pleased to see the thoughtful and planned responses to this opportunity.”

Western Superior Court Judge Eric Norris rejected a bid by District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez to quash subpoenas after the DA admitted violating Marsy’s Law, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The documents are sought by Watkinsville attorney Kevin Epps in connection with a recent Marsy’s Law violation by the district attorney’s office.

Norris ruled the district attorney violated the victim’s rights of Epps’ client due to the district attorney admitting to the violation and the evidence offered by Epps. The judge has ordered that Gonzalez turn over the documents in 15 days from May 19.

During a May 19 hearing on the complaint, Epps alleged the DA’s office never intended to prosecute the rape case and that Assistant District Attorney Robert Wilson used an upcoming murder trial as an excuse to “cover for Gonzalez,” who despite a shortage of staff was out of town at an event the weekend before the trial.

Among the documents sought by Epps was one that contained the words “Selma, Alabama,” according to the district’s attorney’s motion to reject the subpoenas.

Epps said Thursday that securing the documents “will reflect that my client did not get her day in trial and her victim’s right were violated because Mr. Wilson had to cover this hearing while Ms. Gonzalez was at an event in Alabama not related to any of her duties as the district attorney.”

Some Lowndes County property owners are complaining about higher property tax bills, according to WALB.

There has been controversy after the Lowndes County Board of Assessors sent property owners their 2023 Notice of Assessment. Something they say reflects increased values due to surges in the real estate market.

“When we first purchased this home in Lowndes County, our property tax was about $1,400 a year I believe. Now it’s at $2,800. So, it basically doubled in less than two years. And if the property tax is also creeping up, what benefit is there to actually advertise to make people actually come here?,” one Lowndes County property owner said.

“My appraised value increased by $17,078, in turn, caused my 40% assessed value to increase to $6,831. That caused my property tax to increase by $230.84 to a total of $1,950.12. During these difficult times, an increase of this size is difficult for most families to absorb,” Loren Bunte, a Lowndes County resident, said.

Most property owners are allowed to appeal their 2023 Notice of Assessment online, by mail or at the Lowndes County Board of Assessors office by June 28, 2023.

“If your property values that we have on that fair market value on the Notice of Assessment doesn’t match, sort of, what you would expect, that you would be able to buy your home for or sell your home for then you should absolutely appeal. And we welcome that feedback,” James Puckett, Lowndes County Board of Assessors board member, said.

Gainesville is ranked as the nation’s hottest housing market, according to AccessWDUN.

A release from Bankrate this month shows Gainesville on top of their list, which ranked both the top 212 and top 50 metropolitan statistical areas by population based on 1-year home appreciation, 1-year job growth, and population growth, as well as lowest number of active residential listings per thousand people, listings’ median days on the market, and low unemployment rates.

The index measures a metro area’s housing availability and competitiveness to indicate “market hotness.”

Following Gainesville in the top five metropolitan areas for hottest housing markets were Knoxville (TN), Fort Meyers (FL), Sarasota (FL) and Charlotte (N.C.)

Muscogee County voters will elect a new Board of Education member for District 7, according to WTVM.

People in the community filled the library auditorium seats to hear from Laketha Ashe and Pat Frey, both running for the district seven school board seat after the current school board member Cathy Williams stepped down. Ashe says she Is running for this seat because she feels more can be done for district seven.

Early voting starts May 30th through June 16th, and election day will take place on June 20th.

Macon Judicial Circuit Judge Connie L. Williford dismissed a lawsuit by the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections against Mayor Lester Miller and County Commissioners, according to 13WMAZ.

In a ruling posted late Wednesday, Judge Connie L. Williford ruled the lawsuit was fatally flawed and had to be dismissed for violating the Georgia Constitution that dictates conditions for waiving the sovereign immunity which protects government entities from being sued.

The case dates back to issues created after former elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson resigned in January of 2022. Three months later, the mayor and commission rejected the board’s nominee to fill the job after the applicant’s questionable social media posts surfaced.

The board withdrew its nomination and filed legal action in August after Miller announced plans to form a selection committee with county commissioners and members of the board. Miller said he hoped that committee could find a suitable candidate that could breeze through the confirmation process.

The crux of the dispute is ambiguous language in the consolidated government charter that states: “upon the recommendation of the Board of Elections, the governing authority shall appoint an elections supervisor… .”

The board believes only nominees it approves can be hired and alleged Miller was usurping its authority to select the job candidate.

A state constitutional amendment generally prohibits using the waiver of sovereign immunity to sue individuals, and the lawsuit named Miller and each of the Macon-Bibb County commissioners. According to that constitutional amendment that was reinforced by a March decision of the Georgia Supreme Court, the case “shall be dismissed.”

Interim County Attorney Duke Groover successfully argued that the Board of Elections was created in 1969 by a local act of the Georgia General Assembly, but that act did not grant it the power to sue and be sued – something that was specified in the creation of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority and Macon Water Authority.

“The Board of Elections’ powers are very limited. This is not a general governmental agency,” Groover told the court. “They are limited by the duties granted to them by the election code.”

The United States Supreme Court narrowed the government’s authority over some wetlands, according to the AJC.

The federal Clean Water Act defines navigable waters such as rivers and lakes as “waters of the United States” and gives the government ability to regulate wetlands. In the past, Georgia farmers and state leaders have said the law creates an additional layer of red tape and infringes on the rights of individuals.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who has helped lead a multistate push to reverse the law, applauded the ruling.

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the (Environmental Protection Agency’s) unlawful attempt to regulate nearly every drop of water on private property,” he said in a post on Twitter. “We have been fighting against this federal power grab for years, and this is a major win for hardworking farmers across our state!”

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper also issued a statement calling the ruling “an important victory for Georgia farmers, producers, and consumers and against unconstitutional overreach by the federal government.”

“For too long, the Clean Water Act has been used as a political tool to infringe on our agriculture industry, leaving farmers, producers, and property owners at the mercy of the federal government,” he said.

As a result of Thursday’s 5-4 ruling by the court’s conservative majority, the reach of the EPA’s wetlands regulations will be limited. In this case, Sackett v. EPA, an Idaho couple filed suit after being told they could not construct a new home on their property without first receiving permits from the federal government because of their proximity to Lake Priest.

U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, a Jackson Republican, said the ruling makes clear that regulatory oversight has gone too far.

“Sackett, combined with multiple Congressional Review Act resolutions recently passed in Congress, should put federal agencies on notice: the American people will not tolerate the administrative state making up authority and undermining their freedoms,” he said in a statement.

Savannah City Council adopted revisions to their zoning code to allow medical cannabis dispensaries, according to WTOC.

City Council passed a zoning amendment that would allow for pharmacies for medical cannabis or medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits after placing temporary stays on the matter since 2022.

The vote passed 6-3, but sparked long discussion at Thursday night’s meeting.

The new amendments set restrictions for where dispensaries can go within the city. Primarily, they can’t be within 2,000 feet of places like parks, libraries, day car services, schools, churches, or healthcare facilities, to name a few.

It also prevents dispensaries from going in alcohol density overlay districts… something, not all council members agreed on.

“I’m not in agreement with this. It should be able to go anywhere, in any district where a pharmacy can go, because we are looking at a medication,” said Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier.

However, the Mayor and City Manager both say these zoning specifications are in place in the event that recreational marijuana also becomes legal.

“The question is, when you know the rain is coming, do you wait until it rains to get an umbrella, or do you get an umbrella before it rains? A lot of time, when things come down from the state, we’ve then been trying to scramble,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

Savannah City Council also voted to raise the hotel/motel tax, according to WTOC.

Savannah City Council voted to raise the hotel-motel tax from 6% to 8% percent Thursday night.

It’s made possible after Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law earlier this month allowing for the increase.

Now that the increase has passed city council, it’s expected to take effect September 1st.

Savannah is now expected to collect $52 million dollars in hotel/motel tax revenue for 2023, according to City Manager Jay Melder.

“The prevailing thought around our community is that tourism should pay a larger share of community improvements and community enhancements in our city. We are a tourist city. We enjoy being a tourism city,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

Scott Ebner is the finalist for Glynn County police chief, according to The Brunswick News.

Dougherty County Commissioners are beginning the search for a new County Administrator, according to WALB.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard says he’s only looking forward now. That’s where Dave Wills, the executive director for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, comes in.

“I wanted to bring somebody with expertise to give us solid direction on how do you move forward,” Heard said. “This isn’t his first rodeo. And I knew that he would give us excellent information. What we need to consider and what we need to do. And I appreciate Mr. Wills. And I think it’s gonna help us.”

When asked if he believed the commission was in a good place after the termination, Wills had this to say:

“I was invited here to help them understand how they could potentially move forward. So I just restrict my comments to that,” Wills said. “I’m absolutely confident that they can move on, every county does at some point. Some move quicker than others. It’s not uncommon to see managerial changes among counties. But ultimately, the commission has a responsibility to provide government, provide services to people.”

From the Albany Herald:

On at least two occasions during the meeting, Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard asked commissioners to “please stop” when their comments veered into discussion of the circumstances surrounding the actual firing of McCoy.

The final determination of the session was that the search for a replacement for McCoy will begin on June 5.

“My opinion is you should consider hiring an interim,” Willis said. “You want to be looking for experience and communication skills and someone who gets along with the people.”

An interim county administrator would likely be on the job for from three to six months during the search for a permanent administrator, said Wills, who recommended not hiring someone interested in the full-time job on an interim basis.

Sea turtles are nesting at Jekyll Island, according to WSAV.

Tybee’s first sea turtle nest of the season was found on May 17th, and a week later there are five nests that have been found on the island’s beaches.

The Marine Science Center says Tybee’s sea turtles decided to celebrate the recent holiday, as they laid 3 nests on Tuesday night, also known as World Turtle Day.

“If you happen to see a nest, feel free to take a look at it, just keep your distance, don’t try to dig the nest up. And whenever you’re on the beach and you’re playing it’s okay to dig sand castles, but once you’re done, tear down that sand castle, fill that hole back in, because when it’s time for the mamas to come on the beach or the babies to crawl to the ocean, they want a smooth pathway to lead them to the ocean,” says Tybee Marine Science Center Operations Director, Beth Palmer.

Palmer also encourages you to come out and say goodbye to Ike, the center’s resident adult sea turtle, as he is reaching the end of his stay at the center and will be released back into the wild in the next couple of months.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 24, 2023

Nubie is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Ned is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Maxine is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 24, 2023

John Hancock was elected President of the Second Continental Congress on May 24, 1775.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened May 24, 1883.

Then-Lt. Governor Marvin Griffin announced his candidacy for Governor on May 24, 1954.

John Smoltz tied the record for most strikeouts by a Braves pitcher, throwing 15 Ks against Montreal Expos on May 24, 1992.

Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan, who was born on this day in 1941.

Seven years ago today, the 2016 General Primary and Nonpartisan General Election was held in Georgia. One year ago today, the 2022 General Primary elections were held.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Department of Driver Services is asking resident to wear clothes when applying for a new iPhone Driver’s license, according to WRDW.

“Attention, lovely people of the digital era!” the agency said Tuesday in an irreverent Facebook post. “Please take pictures with your clothes on when submitting them for your Digital Driver’s License and IDs. Let’s raise our virtual glasses and toast to the future Cheers to technology and keeping things classy!”

Georgia is the largest state to provide this capability to their residents enabling an easy, fast and secure way for Georgians to present their driver’s license or ID — without needing to take out their physical card.

“Get ready to reimagine the way you use your driver’s license,” said Department of Driver Services Commissioner Spencer R. Moore. “We value the opportunity to work with Apple and TSA to bring this convenience to our residents.”

A digital driver’s license is voluntary and comes at no additional cost, and Georgians must continue to carry their physical driver’s license or ID with them.

U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick (R-7) endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We need a warrior who will do whatever it takes to champion conservative values and safeguard the next generation,” McCormick said in a video posted to his campaign twitter page. “When it comes to the 2024 election, I’ve made my choice: Gov. Ron DeSantis is battle-tested and ready to be our next president.”

“He is bold, principled and has a vision for the future. The governor will never back down. He will fight and he will win, and we will prosper.”

“This election is about trust. Who will empower the people, stop the Left’s woke agenda, spur economic growth and keep us safe,” McCormick said. “This election is about character. Who will serve with dignity, keep their word, remain faithful to our principles and make us proud?”

“This election is about winning. Who can fight and win against the radical left and their allies in the media? Who can earn victory in Georgia? Who can beat Joe Biden? Most of all, this election is not about the past. It’s about the future.”

The Gateway85 Community Improvement District honored former President Jimmy Carter, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The life of Jimmy Carter was celebrated during an event organized by the Gateway85 Community Improvement District on Tuesday morning. The CID will be hanging banners thanking the former president along the Jimmy Carter Boulevard corridor. Jason Carter, Ambassador Andrew Young, Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson, Norcross Mayor Craig Newton and officials from the CID, Habitat For Humanity and the community spoke during the event.

About 30 banners honoring the former president will be placed along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, between Buford Highway and Britt Road. The CID is paying for the banners, which cost about $200 apiece, Morsberger said.

Morsberger added that this is the first time any celebration has been held to honor the fact that Jimmy Carter Boulevard is named for the former president. Even when Gwinnett leaders changed the road’s name in the 1970s, shortly after Carter was elected president in 1976, no celebration was held, according to the CID’s leader.

“They just did it quick and Carter had just gotten elected, and they did it within two weeks of his election,” Morsberger said. “There was nothing (to celebrate it), and I wanted to right that, so here we are.”

Jason Carter said his grandparents chose to focus on helping impoverished communities in African nations, through the Carter Center, because they saw similarities to their home in Plains.

“They didn’t approach those places as somewhere to send pity,” he said. “They looked at it and said, ‘That’s a 600-person village in Mali. I recognize a 600-person village because Plains only has 600 people in it, and I know for a fact that when I walk into that little community there, there’s going to be people in that community that can change the world.”

“And, what they have done really is not provide anything but partnership for all these years.”

Augusta says recent computer network outages resulted from cyber attacks, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson confirmed on Tuesday that some technical difficulties which started Sunday stem from a cyber crime unrelated to last week’s outage.

“We began an investigation and determined that we were the victim of unauthorized access to our system,” he said. “Our information technology department is working diligently to investigate the incident to confirm its impact on our systems and to restore full functionality to our systems as soon as possible.”

Attorney General Chris Carr (R-Cobb County) spoke about gangs in Savannah, according to WSAV.

“It’s like the governor said in the state of the state, you go after our children, we’re going after you,” said Chris Carr, Georgia Attorney General.

Tuesday, Carr met with local police and community leaders in Savannah to talk about gangs and how they recruit kids. That meeting came on the heels of the recent passage of a gang-crime bill. The Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act adds a mandatory 10 to 20 years for first offenders and 15 to 25 years for second-time offenders.

“Sixty to 90% of all violent crime is gang affiliated. And who are the communities that are most often terrorized by gangs? Lower-income, racially diverse and immigrant populations. It’s the paramount duty of government to protect person and property. That means all Georgians. Everybody deserves to be safe.”

Carr said Georgia has indicted sixty-three gang members since they launched their gang prosecution unit last July. The attorney general is touring the state to hear from local police and come up with more ideas to stop recruitment across county lines.

“You’re seeing more violence. Kids are younger that are getting involved in gangs and they’re getting more violent,” Carr said.

From WTOC:

The meeting follows the creation of Georgia’s Gang Prosecution Unit and the recent signing of Senate Bill 44 which increases penalties for recruiting minors into criminal gangs.

“We have jurisdictions around this state where some prosecutors aren’t prosecuting certain laws. The gang statue is one of them. As I said, all Georgians deserve to be safe. And if a prosecutor chooses not to prosecute a gang statute, we aren’t going to hesitate to come in and do it.”

Western Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez apologized after her office violated a crime victim’s statutory rights, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The apology came in the wake of a hearing held May 19 in which Gonzalez’s office was accused of violating the victim’s rights under the Georgia Crime Victim’s Rights known as Marsy’s Law.

Western Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Eric Norris determined the office had violated Marsy’s Law in its handling of the prosecution of rape and child molestation charges.

“We want to extend our sincerest apology for any actions that might have resulted in the victim and their family feeling as if they were not heard and their rights were violated. We are taking appropriate measures to improve our office protocols so that we address communication requests with victims in a timelier manner,” the DA noted.

The Marsey’s Law accusation was filed against the district attorney after rape and child molestation charges against Daniel were dismissed soon after a jury was seated in April to hear the allegations outlined in the indictment. The mother had testified she was “very frustrated” by the dismissal and she was more angry than hurt.

Providence Canyon State Park in Southwest Georgia is expanding, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

The state Board of Natural Resources voted Tuesday to purchase two parcels of land next to the park totaling just more than 1,700 acres for $3.3 million.

The larger of the two tracts – 1,488 acres – is being bought from private owners for $2.9 million. Most of the funding – $2.4 million – is coming through the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act, which voters approved in a 2018 referendum. The remaining $500,000 was donated by the Knobloch Family Foundation, Steve Friedman, the state Department of Natural Resources’ real estate chief, told board members.

The smaller parcel at 215 acres is priced at $409,000. The Nature Conservancy and Knobloch Foundation are contributing $150,000 each toward the purchase, while the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation will supply the remaining $109,000.

The two purchases will allow the park to expand its hiking trails and camping sites, Friedman said.

Providence Canyon State Park, renowned as the “Little Grand Canyon,” is located in Stewart County west of U.S. 27.

Georgia Commissioner of Natural Resources Mark Williams will leave the agency to join the Jekyll Island Authority, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

Williams announced his upcoming departure from the DNR Tuesday at the state Board of Natural Resources’ monthly meeting. At about the same time Williams was speaking, the Jekyll Island Authority board was naming him to succeed the retired Jones Hooks as executive director effective July 1, The Brunswick News reported Tuesday.

“It has been my absolute honor to serve you for 14 years,” an emotional Williams told DNR board members. “I’ve never dreaded a day’s work in this office.”

Williams will get to spend more time with his family in his new post. He lives in Wayne County, and the Republican represented House District 178 in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 until 2010.

From The Brunswick News:

“We are looking forward to having Commissioner Williams join us as JIA executive director,” said Dale Atkins, JIA board chairman, in a press release sent Tuesday. “I know I speak for the full board in saying how confident we feel in the experience Mark brings from his tenure with DNR and his years of service on the JIA board, and we believe he will continue to steward the island in this new role.”

Williams will begin in the new role July 1, replacing current executive director Jones Hooks. Hooks, who has served in the position since 2008, announced his retirement in February.

Base compensation will be set at $250,000 with a performance incentive of up to $25,000, said board member Buster Evans, chair of the human resources committee.

Williams will also receive a vehicle allowance of up to $10,000 annually.

The board voted to approve a three-year employment agreement.

“Marty, the girls and I congratulate Commissioner Mark Williams on this great opportunity and want to thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the people of our state,” said Gov. Brian Kemp in a statement sent Tuesday. “Under his leadership, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has made great strides in conserving the beautiful assets of our state and our shared natural heritage.

“With a record of service stretching back to his time in the Georgia House of Representatives and through his contributions on many boards and authorities, he has impacted our state in a significant and lasting way. We are thankful for all Mark has done and wish him and Pam well as they continue to promote our natural wonders through his new role.”

State Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) is under fire by fellow Democrats, according to the AJC.

Many Democrats see her as a traitor to the party’s core ideals, an attention-seeking opportunist pursuing her own political agenda. They’re recruiting candidates to run against her, with one senator offering a $1,000 donation to jump-start the campaign of whoever steps up.

“I’m not a puppet. No one tells me how to do anything,” Mainor said. “Some of my Republican friends, they joke a lot, saying. ‘You should become a Republican.’ I’ve never thought about that. I want the Democrats to change.”

Rather than backing down, Mainor hopes she can use her maverick reputation and support for school choice to win higher office someday. She said she would consider a run for state schools superintendent.

“We were screaming bloody murder during session, saying, ‘Please don’t vote for this,’ ” said Minority Leader James Beverly, a Democrat from Macon. “When it’s a value proposition around education or around elections, that becomes extremely important for you to stick with us.”

No Democrat votes with Republicans more often than Mainor, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of every vote on bills during this year’s legislative session.

Mainor voted “yes” on 95% of legislation in the Republican-controlled state House, including GOP-backed bills to allow $6,500 private school vouchers, create a state board to investigate district attorneys, ban government COVID-19 vaccination requirements and remove bipartisan appointments to local election boards.

Almost all other Democrats opposed each of those measures. In comparison with Mainor, Beverly voted “yes” on 89% of bills that reached votes in the state House, most of which were bipartisan and uncontroversial.

“Every election year I hear ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but do they? I see every other minority being prioritized except Black children living in poverty that can’t read,” Mainor said in a video she posted on Twitter. “We’ll send a million dollars to the border for immigrant services, but Black communities? Not even a shout-out.”

No one has stepped up yet to run against Mainor next year after she defeated two Democrats in the 2022 primary with 65% of the vote.

Statesboro City Council may revise their alcohol ordinance to regulate “event centers,” according to the Statesboro Herald.

“The city could enact an ordinance requiring event centers that do not have a valid alcohol license to obtain a permit to operate,” City Attorney Cain Smith told the mayor and council during their May 16 work session.  “What we’re talking about here are these places that conduct either ticketed events or events for hire.”

Statesboro’s existing code of ordinances refers to “event venues” only in reference to a kind of alcoholic beverage serving license. Event venues that pay for an alcohol license, as a condition of receiving it, already open themselves to inspection by Statesboro Fire Department personnel and to visits from the Police Department.

During a previous meeting, District 1 Councilmember Phil Boyum complained that places trying to operate as bars without having a license are cropping up again as they did in the past, finding ways around the city’s alcohol laws. Last week, Boyum said at first that he didn’t think “ticketed events” should be allowed except at places such as the Blue Room – a privately owned music and events venue that does have an alcohol license – and Averitt Center for the Arts facilities.

“Now on the other hand, we have these rental facilities,” Boyum said. “These places are pretending to be the Blue Room, they’re doing these ticketed events, they don’t have the appropriate security, and that’s the problem. … This has been a problem for a decade.”

Such places, he said, also lack trained bartenders and servers, while establishments with pouring licenses are required to provide Training for Intervention Procedures, or TIPS, for their employees. This is meant to prevent serving people under the legal drinking age of 21 and those who are already intoxicated.

Allowing rented-out facilities to bypass all the requirements is unfair to properly licensed places, Boyum argued. But Mayor Jonathan McCollar noted that some legitimate organizations host ticketed events.

The Dougherty County Health Department will offer free Narcan five days a week, according to the Albany Herald.

You can now access free Narcan spray five days a week at the Dougherty County Health Department thanks to a recent partnership with the Southwest Health District.

One squirt of this nasal spray can reverse an opioid overdose. In springtime 2022, there were 60 reported overdoses. So far in 2023, there’s been 50.

“We average about three a week. Just this year alone, we have given out 150 twin packs of Narcan here in Dougherty County. Like I said, Narcan is available for free at the Dougherty County Health Department and each of the 14 counties,” said Phyllis Rolle, Public Health Analyst.

“Last year, we did have 33 overall drug overdoses, and 25 of those were opioid-related. And this year, we are seeing a little less than what we saw last year. So, I think it is helping us this year and it’s a bit effective so yes. I like to think of Narcan as being the drug of a second chance because if they have that Narcan on hand, that does give them a chance to be revived and taken to the hospital to give them the treatment they need to overcome this addiction,” Rolle said.

“Narcan is a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose, and it comes in a twin pack of nasal spray. One pack is one dose, and you just put one squirt in each nostril. You turn the person over to a recovery position that’s on their side and then you call 911 for help,” Rolle said.

It’s available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dougherty County Health Department, located at 1710 S. Slappey Blvd, Albany.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 23, 2023

Thor is a young male American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

Katie is a young female American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

Sally is a young female Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 23, 2023

Serial bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death near Sailes, Louisiana by a group of LA and Texas state police on May 23, 1934.

On May 23, 1954, the NAACP petitioned the Fulton County Board of Education to desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Virginia Caucus on May 23, 1976, gaining 24 delegates. On May 25, 1976, Carter won the Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky Primary Elections for President.

On May 23, 1990, the NFL announced that Atlanta would host the 1994 Super Bowl.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senator Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro) was appointed to the Georgia Council on Literacy, according to the Statesboro Herald.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 22, 2023

Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society helped local law enforcement with numerous dogs from a hoarding situation, according to WALB.

What started as a 911 call to a home quickly turned into a seizure of 14 dogs. The Moultrie-Colquitt Humane Society responded to this call with the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office. Both were able to work together to rescue the dogs.

“The reason why we closed today is because we kind of had all hands-on deck trying to get all 14 of the dogs that we took into custody today,” [Humane Society Executive Director Courtney] Azar said. “That way we can process them as far as medical, if they need to go to the vet or things like that.”

These dogs are now among the over 100 animals at the Shelter looking for a forever home.

“There are actually 102. Yesterday, we took in exactly nine dogs. And when we count those, the count goes back up to 102,” Azar said.

We are still working to learn what condition the dogs were in at the time of the seizure. But there is a way for the community to help. The shelter is asking for the public’s help through food donations

“On a weekly basis, we probably spend around, right now, without donations, about $400, $350-$400 just on food. So we’re asking for as much as we can, especially with the influx we’re having,” Azar said.

Click here to donate directly to the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society.

Willow is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

Pooh Bear is a senior male Dachshund and Chihuahua mix (Chiweenie) who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

April is a young female Hound and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2023

The War of the Roses began on May 22, 1455 at St. Albans, northwest of London.

In the opening battle of England’s War of the Roses, the Yorkists defeat King Henry VI’s Lancastrian forces at St. Albans, 20 miles northwest of London. Many Lancastrian nobles perished, including Edmund Beaufort, the duke of Somerset, and the king was forced to submit to the rule of his cousin, Richard of York. The dynastic struggle between the House of York, whose badge was a white rose, and the House of Lancaster, later associated with a red rose, would stretch on for 30 years.

First Lady Martha Dandridge Custis Washington died on May 22, 1802.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

On May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. Brooks used the cane as the result of injury sustained in a previous duel, and found Sumner at his desk in the Senate Chamber. In the course of a two-day Senate speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have nullified the Missouri Compromise on the expansion of slavery, Sumner had criticized three legislators, including a cousin of Rep. Brooks, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.

On May 22, 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the commencement address for Oglethorpe University at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp met in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..